How Lampard Transformed Everton in 5 Days

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Frank Lampard the manager / head coach of Everton during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Everton and Brentford at Goodison Park on February 5, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Frank Lampard the manager / head coach of Everton during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Everton and Brentford at Goodison Park on February 5, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Frank Lampard’s first game as Everton manager could not have gone much better on Saturday. In the main a fairly comfortable 4-1 victory over Brentford at Goodison Park in the FA Cup 4th Round ensured Evertonians finally could enjoy Match Of The Day for the first time in a while.

In five days Lampard had managed to completely change the feel at Goodison and the team produced a performance that had not been seen in front of a sold out home crowd for nearly three years when they put four past Manchester United without reply on Easter Sunday in 2019.

Carlo Ancelotti, partly excused due to no crowds during the lockdowns, and Rafa Benitez could not manage a performance like this, with Marco Silva being the last manager to raise the roof this much at the grand old lady.

So how did Lampard transform an abject, defensive, negative, Everton squad lacking in confidence when he only arrived last Monday?

Let’s start with what he did before he was officially unveiled at Finch Farm last Monday. Lampard had personally called new signings Donny Van De Beek and Dele Alli prior to getting on Merseyside to ensure they would sign.

Van De Beek was so convinced he was announced before Lampard, and Alli despite late interest from Newcastle, was true to his word with Lampard and signed late on Monday permanently.

Straight away Evertonians were positive about the new managers’ outlook and knew his connections would work in our favour. This was a masterstroke by Lampard, knowing he is an outsider and Chelsea legend on the pitch, it immediately let Everton fans and staff know how serious he was in taking the job and then his plans to improve the results by getting key players in.

Another piece of work that Lampard had been committed too before he even knew if he had the job or not was getting his backroom staff ready.

Key talks with Joe Edwards, the Assistant Manager, and Paul Clement, first team coach, had already taken place prior to taking over. Also Chris Evans had been contacted to get ready to join as Head of Performance.

When Lampard got to work on Monday afternoon they could hit the ground running. Keeping Duncan Ferguson and Alan Kelly also meant all bases were covered and Lampard could call on them for there experience of the players and training facilities.

During the week Lampard also added another Chelsea and England legend to the coaching ranks in Ashley Cole, again showing his planning and getting all of his key coaching staff in before the first game of the new era.

Once you get to analyse the victory on Saturday you realise the planning and hard work before Lampard took the job was key to transforming the Everton squad as much as he did over a few days.

As training videos showed, like the one from the official Everton twitter below, Lampard liked to be involved, praising his players and wanting them to be brave with the ball:

When you switch to the match you see this in abundance, quick passing through the lines of play, always looking for the next pass quickly and more importantly forward or to a player in more space to move forward with the ball.

Under Benitez too many balls were wasted from the back four as they went too long too early and also passed the ball sideways and back too often. This can be seen in the two situations below:

Lampard also got his full backs, or wing backs, on this occasion to sit out wide and enable more space inside to play between those lines. The high press was in evidence too and especially in central areas to force Brentford to play out wide where Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon were much quicker to press.

All of this is not a surprise from analysing Lampard’s previous manager jobs, as we did last week. Three centre backs was probably the only surprise but with a lack of midfielders due to injury it was not too much of a shock.

However, although these tactical changes were implemented on the training ground and were vital to get the win, I think the positivity and mental attitude Lampard instilled into the players was more important than anything else.

Everton had not scored the 1st goal and led at half time since playing Watford at home in early October, a game they would inexplicably go on to lose 5-2 anyway. Eleven out of the last twelve games that equated to and Lampard knew they would have to get on the front foot to give them momentum.

Clement also made his experience count in just a few days by taking on the set piece training. Everton had been woeful all season at defending them and not enjoying much success at the other end either. Cue two goals direct from corners and none conceded against a big physical Brentford side.

Lampard stated his belief the players had brought into methods pre-match and after the game he was delighted at how they took the positive training sessions into the game.

He also said the reception with Evertonians could not have gone much better and how much he wanted Goodison to be the bear pit atmosphere he had encountered many times as a visiting player. The fans responded and some, why?

Because Lampard had said all the right things leading up to the game, secured crucial signings to bolster the squad, planned his backroom staff to hit the ground running and knew what Evertonians want in style of play.

Ahead of a crucial week and with not much rest time before Tuesday’s crucial relegation battle against Newcastle, the only negative was an injury to Ben Godfrey. Lampard actually has selection problems for the trip to St James’ Park, but for positive reasons.

Who could he leave out if he decides to play Van De Beek, Alli and possibly a returning from injury Dominic Calvert-Lewin? That is a discussion for tomorrow, for now let’s enjoy a good weekend for a change and also look forward to a romantic meeting with non-league Boreham Wood at Goodison in the fifth round.