Frank Lampard won’t panic if weekend ends with Everton in relegation zone

The Toffees could be in the bottom three by the time they kick-off against league leaders Manchester City.

Manager Frank Lampard knows Everton’s season will not be decided by Saturday’s visit of Manchester City (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Carl Markham, PA

Everton manager Frank Lampard insists the visit of Manchester City is not season-defining for his side’s fight against Premier League relegation.

The Toffees have lost five of their last six league games and Burnley’s midweek win over Spurs left them just two points above the bottom three.

Favourable results for the Clarets and Newcastle on Saturday would put Everton into the relegation zone before their evening kick-off against the league leaders, but Lampard will not press the panic button.

He said: “It’s difficult to beat Manchester City. We can’t put all our eggs in the basket of this game being a game-changer completely as there are a lot of games left.

“There is a lot of football to be played, against teams around us and teams we have games in hand on.

“These next two games (Everton go to Tottenham a week on Monday) are going to be difficult games but I still won’t change my mindset, whether we get positive results or not. There is a long way to go.

“What I do want to see is belief from the players that we can go toe-to-toe with anyone.”

Everton have suffered damaging defeats at Newcastle and Southampton in Lampard’s four matches in charge so far.

But the manager remains confident things will turn around.

“I came into the situation knowing it wouldn’t be plain sailing and a process of win, win, win,” he added.

“We won’t be derailed from what we’re working towards by results, because it is very difficult to get results in this league.

“When you are playing at this level, you don’t expect to wave a magic wand and get results.

“You want to work in steps and bring progress and I’ve seen that.

“The players have been good and positive and confident and we will work towards the game tomorrow.”

Lampard has yet to decide whether to include Ukraine international Vitalii Mykolenko in his squad.

“He is OK. I’ve spoken to him, the club have spoken to him,” he said.

“He has every bit of support we can possibly give him from our end in terms of a personal touch, club support if and when he needs it.

“It is ultra-important he feels that from us.

“The decision whether he plays or is available is for me and him to speak about.”

Lampard was asked about the influence of Russian money in English football, having been at Chelsea and now being at Everton where there has been significant investment from people and businesses from within the country.

“It’s a very difficult question at the moment but I’m not going to be drawn on the politics on that from my time at Chelsea or my time at Everton now,” he added.

“I’m here to coach, to get the best results for this club. I like to speak about things that I’m absolutely clear on – without dodging this question I’m not absolutely clear so I’d hate to give an answer.”

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