‘We needed to’ - Frank Lampard explains how tactical change saved Everton from relegation

The former Everton boss spoke about his past with the club on Monday Night Football.
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Frank Lampard has revealed how a tactical switch helped to keep Everton in the Premier League during the 2021/22 season.

The Toffees narrowly avoided relegation by beating Crystal Palace 3-2 in their second to last game of the season, in what was an incredible night as Lampard’s men came back from a two-goal deficit to earn an unlikely comeback victory.

Goals from Michael Keane, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were enough to secure a famous win as Everton managed four wins and two draws from their relegation run-in beating Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester City and Palace.

Lampard’s more direct approach explained

Speaking on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, he spoke about how he had to adopt a more direct approach and how it was different from the early tactics he tried to implement after taking over from Rafael Benitez mid-season.

“In the early parts of coming in, I wasn’t naive, I understood I couldn’t coach Everton like I coached Chelsea - it was a player and squad thing. And in the beginning I came in with more of an idea about possession.

“It wasn’t just about possession, I wasn’t a player who wanted to play slow or have 100 passes, I want to be able to play through lines. We had a couple of performances early where it felt good but you see two wins in the first nine games and you think ‘is that going to be enough?’

“We went to Tottenham and tried to go toe-to-toe and got beat 4-0 and it was after that where I was like ‘we can’t go toe-to-toe with some of these teams so we tightened up.”

How Everton changed during the run-in and the importance of Goodison Park

The statistics showed a change from his first nine games in charge to his second nine games, which was the relegation run-in; it saw a change from 44% possession to 32% as well as a rise of 5% of how many passes they played long.

Both resulted in more passes into the opposition box and it resulted in double the wins and more than double the points per game (0.7-1.6) as they earned enough to stay up. But Lampard reiterated how important it was to engage the crowd and key the fans were to keeping them up.

“You will keep seeing Goodison here” Lampard explained, as differing clips played from their relegation run-in.

“We needed to engage the crowd and in this period we managed to find it. At that time, the fans were waiting for us before games and were really lifting the players, we got massive results here in pivotal moments.”