DOMINIC KING: Frank Lampard is tipped for the sack after just 67 days in charge at relegation-threatened Everton – but pig-headed owner Farhad Moshiri is the real problem
- The buck stops with Frank Lampard, but calls for him to go are nonsensical
- Everton have been on the slide for years under the madcap ownership of Moshiri
- Their starting XI in the side thrashed by Spurs had been bought by six managers
Here is the madness of the situation. It is 67 days since Frank Lampard was appointed Everton boss, but he already tops the bookies’ lists for the next manager to be sacked.
That Lampard finds himself in such a miserable position is down to the fact that Everton were beaten at Burnley — a game they dared not lose. They are one point above the relegation zone but are heading in one direction.
As always, the buck stops with the manager. Lampard has been in the game long enough to know that each bad result increases the heat on him, but calls for him to lose his job are nonsensical.
Under-fire Everton boss Frank Lampard tops the lists for the next manager to be sacked
Rewind to the first week of February. Lampard had been in charge for a week. Those first seven days went smoothly and culminated with a polished beating of Brentford in the FA Cup.
His next assignment was a trip to Newcastle. Ahead of the game, Lampard was asked whether he had seen enough from his squad to place his trust in them for the upcoming battle. He squinted, curious as to why the subject had been raised.
Two months on, he now knows why the question was asked. Lampard finds himself in modern football’s impossible job: the man charged with turning round a squad of underachievers. Seven defeats from nine Premier League games tells you how it’s going.
Everton have been on the slide under the madcap ownership of Farhad Moshiri (right)
Many will look at Everton’s increasingly bleak situation and wonder what difference, if any, Lampard is making. There have been misgivings about the signings that were made on the day he was appointed in January, with Dele Alli barely contributing and Donny van de Beek failing to show sufficient consistency.
Really, however, it is nonsense to try to blame Lampard for this predicament. Everton have been heading in this direction for years under the madcap ownership of Farhad Moshiri, who hasn’t been seen at Goodison Park since a numbing 5-2 defeat by Watford on October 23, the first of 18 losses in the last 26 fixtures in all competitions.
It is the culmination of years of mismanagement. When Everton were thrashed 5-0 at Tottenham last month — the eighth time they had conceded five in five years — the starting XI had been bought by six different managers.
That shows you the chaos. You never know what’s coming next under Moshiri. He appointed former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez last summer when many within Goodison implored the Iranian not to, arguing it simply wouldn’t work. Moshiri, pig-headed as he is, went ahead with the decision anyway.
Lampard finds himself in a miserable position following Wednesday’s defeat at Burnley
He gave Benitez public backing after Liverpool’s biggest Merseyside derby win at Goodison Park for 40 years on December 1 and said the Spaniard needed time. Six weeks later he was gone.
So there is no point, here, saying that Lampard will be given time to correct the situation when Moshiri could decide on a whim that he wants to go in a completely different direction again.
The club have insisted there was no hint that Lampard would go the way of Benitez, Marco Silva, Sam Allardyce, Ronald Koeman or Roberto Martinez, the managers who have been sacked by Moshiri since February 2016.
There is no such thing as patience at Everton, only panic. The problem is, this time the panic is being felt by those who matter most — the supporters.
Maxwel Cornet wheels away in celebration after condemning Everton to yet another defeat
Lampard talked about his group showing ‘b*******’ after Crystal Palace dumped them out of the Cup, a sentiment that some felt would not be well received in the dressing room. It says more about those who can’t take the criticism than the man who administered it.
Unfortunately for Lampard, he has walked into a dysfunctional club and inherited a bad dressing room.
Relegation would be ruinous and the next nine games offer a challenge like nothing he has ever faced. If only Everton had players who could be trusted to deliver under pressure.
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