Frank Lampard reacts as Alex Iwobi, and Everton escape relegation
EPL

Frank Lampard reacts as Alex Iwobi, and Everton escape relegation

Frank Lampard has reacted to various issues after helping Everton and Alex Iwobi escape relegation after a 3-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace on Thursday.

The visitors opened the scoring through Jean-Philippe Mateta in the 21st minute before Jordan Ayew latched onto a rebound and tapped in from close range to double their lead.

The hosts pulled one back as Mason Holgate nodded down for Michael Keane to take a touch and fire home.

Everton restored parity in the 75th minute when Richarlison lashed in after Dele Alli’s shot was deflected into his path.

With just five minutes remaining, Dominic Calvert-Lewin powered a diving header in at the near post to complete a remarkable turnaround.

And Frank Lampard, who ended the night celebrating in front of jubilant Evertonians said it was one of his greatest footballing moments.

“It is one of the greatest moments of my footballing life and career,” the Everton manager said.

“I have been very fortunate to have amazing times, especially at Chelsea as a player and a coach. But when you feel the feelings and desperation of what relegation brings to the table, it is different. You need to dig in. You lose games, you fight to do something and then you lose another game. People think you should fly up the table and it is never that way.

“Coming in here three and a half months ago with my amazing staff, positive people who work so hard, and trying to affect things and getting a reaction from the players, from the fans and feeling unity when it looked split. This club is special and I am proud to be the manager of Everton on this night.

“I am full of thanks tonight; thanks to the fans for taking me on board, to the board for taking me on at a difficult time when we appeared to be going in the wrong direction, and to the players. That was down to the players.”

Lampard’s half-time introduction of Dele Alli helped turn the game in Everton’s favour. The nature of the comeback, and the stakes involved, produced an emotional outpouring on the final whistle.

The Everton manager added: “I thought I might cry [at full time], I thought I might jump out of my body. Nobody can question the celebrations at the end.

“It is easy to say: ‘But you haven’t won anything.’ You know what, come and work at this club for a few months and see the difficulties and what it means to people to stay in this league.

“See us 2-0 down at half-time, playing poorly, ridiculous second goal and then see the character they showed. See the fans on the pitch in good heart and spirit. They have pulled us over the line, they have been more than a 12th man.

“But the players also deserve huge credit. An amazing night. Dele was brilliant when he came on. He changed the game individually. We had already changed the system but it was to give a little bit of information.

“It was nothing to do with a system change to change the game, it was always going to be the players, their character and desire to engage the crowd and make something happen.

“I can’t take too much credit. I didn’t come up with some new magical tactics. We went direct, but no problem in this position. But we relied on the players.”

On the pitch invasion itself Lampard said: “It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation. If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem.”

Tope Adefala

Tope Adefala is an experienced sports writer, editor, and web designer. A former editor at Sportlineng.com. Talks sports with a great bias for Basketball, Tennis, Field Hockey and Football. Presently the media officer of Nigeria Hockey Federation. I have been in the business of Sports communication and marketing for more than 10 years. Not forgetting that I won West African University Games, Nigeria University Games gold medals. You can find me on Twitter @1topham.

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