Stop the slide, face the dysfunction: Frank Lampard’s Everton checklist | Everton

Stopping a Deeply Rooted and Damaging Slide

Forget any long-term vision, structural change or philosophy for now; it is above all a rescue operation. Six years of mismanagement, dismal recruitment and illogical decision-making by Farhad Moshiri led Everton to the precipice of relegation. The club have not suffered relegation for 71 years but a team assembled at exorbitant cost are destined for the Championship in their current form. Everton collected 10 points from the first four games before injuries hit Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Rafael Benítez’s division reign began to crumble. They have added nine points in the last 16 matches and are the worst performing team in the Premier League over this long period.

The two main strikers have returned, albeit rusty in the case of Calvert-Lewin after four months out, but in a team prone to mistakes, without confidence, without a clear strategy and with the confusion sown by playing for seven fewer managers of six years (keepers included) are reflected in the individual performances. Four points above the relegation zone, Everton face a critical test at Newcastle in their next league game and still have Manchester City, Tottenham, West Ham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal to play. . Frank Lampard must immediately inspire conviction and an effective game plan.

Treating vertex dysfunction and Goodison toxicity

The Evertonians are in open and understandable revolt over how Moshiri and the board have not only spurned the chance to close the gap with the Premier League top flight, but have driven a wedge between them and a team and managers most cannot identify with. The club’s latest wacky managerial research has shown just how soap opera Everton have become.

Chairman Bill Kenwright is believed to have led the initial move of Roberto Martínez, Moshiri’s first manager sacked at Everton and handed a payout of more than £10million after a legal dispute. The Royal Belgian Football Association unsurprisingly rejected Everton’s offer to share Martínez’s job in a World Cup year and the plan quickly fell through.

Moshiri and his business partner Alisher Usmanov regained the lead and favored Vítor Pereira, a manager with no Premier League experience who had been overlooked twice before for Everton’s job. The hostile fan reaction to his candidacy prompted Pereira to present his credentials during a live television interview, to widespread astonishment and concern. Pereira’s move, the continued influence of agent Kia Joorabchian and Moshiri’s recent open letter to supporters – in which he made no acknowledgment of mistakes on his part and lavishly praised a board also guilty of Everton’s chaotic decline – have deepened fears that the billionaire is blind to the failures that have made Everton one of the Premier League’s most dysfunctional clubs.

A manager can’t fix his fundamental problems, but Lampard will need the strength to ignore interference from above while restoring hope to a disgruntled fan base. It’s a daunting task, but some semblance of unity is needed for the primary goal of avoiding relegation. Get Goodison on your side and the old place can act as a boost, not a hindrance, for any Everton player.

Improve defensive organization and concentration

Duncan Ferguson was ‘on the floor’ after the first game of his second term as caretaker manager ended in defeat against Aston Villa, but he has overseen improvements in several areas from performance under Benítez. Everton had more shots, faced fewer attempts on goal and gained more possession against Villa than average under Benítez, but lost due to a recurring problem: poor defending from a free kick. . Emiliano Buendía’s decisive header was the 10th goal Everton have conceded from a free kick this season, this time following Richarlison’s save at the near post. There have been six individual errors leading to goals this season, which equals the amount of last season’s entirety under Carlo Ancelotti.

Emiliano Buendía’s header – Everton’s 10th free-kick goal this season – helped Aston Villa win at Goodison Park. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters

There hasn’t been an established central defensive partnership all season, largely due to Yerry Mina’s injury struggles, the most creative defensive outlet, Lucas Digne, fell out with Benítez and was sold to Villa days before the manager was sacked, and January signings Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson, signed for an initial £29million after a long-term interest, did not make the squad of Ferguson. Benítez was the latest Everton manager to question the character of the players – albeit privately, in his case – with impressive performances on the training ground that regularly disappear on matchdays.

Find an answer to the tricky question of balance

Everton’s main trump cards, and best hope of getting out of harm’s way, are in attack with Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, although both have suffered injury campaigns and are yet to break camp since their return. Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend and Anthony Gordon, two Benítez signings who impressed and the homegrown talent he regularly introduced to the team, were Everton’s best players on the pitch.

Abdoulaye Doucouré has been out for at least a month with a groin injury.
Abdoulaye Doucouré has been out for at least a month with a groin injury. Photography: Malcolm Mackenzie/ProSports/Shutterstock

Behind them, however, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré struggled as a couple and were often overwhelmed. A move to a three-man midfield with Andre Gomes would allow Everton to better control possession and reduce their vulnerability to counter-attacks – in theory, at least – but that would mean sacrificing a striker. The dilemma, however, was overtaken by events. Doucoure is out for at least a month with a groin problem and fellow central midfielders Tom Davies and Fabian Delph are also out until March. Benítez had targeted a central midfielder for January. He was loaned winger Anwar El Ghazi instead. Fortunately for Everton when it comes to this area of ​​the pitch, it looks like Lampard has persuaded Donny van de Beek to join Manchester United on a season-long loan deal.

Oh and…

Along with avoiding relegation and earning an angry crowd, there’s the important issue of working without a director of football, head of recruiting, head of scouting, head of sports science and rehabilitation coach. The former incumbents have all left in the past two months.