Frank Lampard provides reason for Dele Alli’s first start and makes ‘freedom’ admission ahead of Arsenal
Thursday’s win against Crystal Palace made Everton safe and they can finally play today with the pressure off
And with today’s trip to Arsenal free from any pressure, Everton boss Lampard has roled out the changes - most notably naming Dele Alli in his starting line-up for the first time since signing him from Tottenham.
Alli has made 10 appearances since arriving at Goodison in January but hasn’t made the desired impact from the bench.
But Lampard said before the Arsenal game that the 26-year-old affected the game on Thrsday and ‘deserved’ a start against a former rival.
“Dele came on and affected the game on Thursday and deserves to start.” Lampard said. “Begovic is a top-class keeper who trains brilliantly, he waits his time and it is the right thing to do, to give him a game. We want to win the game and play as well as we can.
“Yes, that’s something we’ve not been able to do (play with freedom) because that’s where we were at. The tension is tough on everybody, at times, and the elation the other day was understandable, because of that period of time we were in.”
“Now we do so, hopefully the freedom helps, in terms of how the players can play, with that tension off. But we must get our attitudes right – so it is that balance.”
Thursday’s win secured Everton’s Premier League status and relieved the pressure on a season to forget.
Sunday’s trip to Arsenal can finally be a game that the away-day support can enjoy, and Lampard’s changes imply that he is letting some key players rest after a taxing campaing - mentally and physically.
The Toffees can finish as high as 15th with a win.