Frank Lampard has said Everton have no divine right to their Premier League status and must improve in the summer to avoid a repeat of this season’s relegation struggle.
Lampard achieved his immediate task of securing Everton’s survival with Thursday’s dramatic comeback defeat of Crystal Palace. After the raucous celebrations, however, he turned his attention to the rebuilding work required and admitted Everton could not take for granted their 68-year residence in the top flight.
The Everton manager, asked whether the club were too big to be fighting relegation, said: “Yes, but is it? What right does Everton have to be Premier League safe every year and think that will continue forever more? There are a lot of decisions that have to be made and performances that we have to do and my job has to be done as well as it can be to make sure that happens.
“We need to try and find improvements to make sure it is not but nothing is given. We were in that position because we deserved to be. It is important to say that. We don’t want to be here next season but we understand if we don’t make positive moves it could be possible. So we will be ready to move on that quickly.
“I don’t think we can expect 10,000 people to turn up and parade us in every game. It doesn’t work that way. The fans have dragged us over the line with that kind of behaviour. But at the same time, we as a club need to start fresh from zero next season, which is a nice thing, especially for me to come in with a pre-season and start at zero rather than looking downwards, and make the decisions in the meantime that mean we improve.”
Lampard has established a good working relationship with Kevin Thelwell, who was appointed as the director of football in February, and said plans were in place for the summer, despite the uncertainty that had surrounded the club’s future.
“We have been working behind the scenes,” he said. “I have a great relationship with Kevin in terms of where I feel we can move forward with the squad and not just that, but structurally so we can be better from day to day. My biggest thing here is that I want a happy, determined camp that moves in the same direction and that is something we have to look at. Those conversations have started.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Jordan Pickford have been linked with summer moves but, despite Everton’s recent financial losses, Lampard insists he has not been told so far that he must sell to buy. He said: “If I had my way let me keep players who perform really well for the club and let us get as far up the table as we can, but we will see about that.”