By George Overhill

19th Sep, 2022 | 1:45pm

Everton may have only recorded their first win of the season against West Ham this weekend but the match produced two key indicators of major Frank Lampard achievements.

Often derided in his time at Goodison Park after qualified successes in his two previous roles at Derby and Chelsea, there looks to be clear evidence that the Toffees boss is learning from his mistakes and growing as a manager this season.

The 1-0 victory on Sunday (18 September) ticked the important objective of first victory after a tricky start to the year, but despite the fact it has taken to the seventh match of the campaign to secure it the scenes after the final whistle indicate what Lampard, 44, has achieved at the club.

Liverpool Echo reporter Tony Scott posted video on his personal Twitter account from Goodison showing a still-packed stadium in full voice and responding to the manager’s thanks.

Much was made of the galvanising effect that he had late in the relegation battle last season, where fans produced a huge swell of support to drag the Toffees to safety.

But there was an element of desperation to the final months of the previous campaign where supporters would have known they couldn’t afford to do anything but back the team 100% at a crucial time.

That is not the case now, relatively early in a stuttering but promising campaign, and the buy-in from the stands being so evident despite the win only lifting the side to 13th in the top flight is clear evidence of the work Lampard and his staff are doing after the poisonous atmosphere that ended the Rafael Benitez era.

Perhaps more impressive is the defensive transformation that the Toffees have undergone so far this season.

Previously in his managerial career the former England international had gained a reputation for weakness at the back and a tendency to concede large amounts of goals.

That he was sacked from Stamford Bridge before Thomas Tuchel arrived and turned the Chelsea defence into the meanest in the Premier League while also winning the Champions League undercut his credibility.

Taking over a tanking Everton side with a defence whose confidence had been destroyed and missing key figures did little to help that, especially after high-profile criticism from the likes of Jamie Carragher after the 5-0 collapse at Tottenham on 7 March.

So for his Toffees defence to now be among the best in the division now demonstrates a major personal achievement.

With six goals conceded, Everton are level with the two sides who won the past five league titles, Manchester City and Liverpool, and bettered only by Brighton on five, with the Merseyside rivals and the Seagulls both having played a game fewer.

With new injuries this year to Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate he was served the same issues as last season, but the crucial signings of James Tarkowski and Conor Coady have mitigated to great effect.

At the same time, having incorporated the two young full-backs signed just before his appointment, Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson, Lampard has arguably the most effective back line in the country, with another clean sheet against the Hammers despite missing star goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

It is still early days this season, and the way the Benitez era collapsed from this stage a year ago should prevent anyone getting too confident, but the footage from Goodison on Sunday and the defensive statistic that came out of the game shows formidable progress from a young manager who is still widely doubted outside the club.