Frank Lampard should not be sacked as Everton manager says Sue Smith, despite the atmosphere turning “toxic” at Bournemouth according to Jeff Stelling.
A second three-goal loss to the Cherries in a week saw travelling fans react furiously to the players after the final whistle, and players direct anger at each other during the game on Saturday (12 November), prompting Stelling’s observation.
Smith believes there was huge frustration on the pitch and in the stands on the south coast, with large numbers of fans now wanting the manager to go as the team heads towards another relegation battle.
Speaking live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday after the game (12 November, 5.21pm) Stelling said: “It’s probably just as well that they’ve got that World Cup break coming up because the atmosphere between the manager, team and fans, seems to have become toxic.”
Smith responded: “Yeah it has. There’s a lot of Everton fans that think Frank Lampard is not the right manager. Completely disagree with that.
“I don’t know what the point would be in changing your manager. They’ve done that far too many times, brought in a lot of players with each manager, and he’s trying to build something.
“You go back to the Crystal Palace game which seems so far away now for Everton fans. They performed really well and you could see what he was trying to do.
“They’ve had some really, really poor performances. They just don’t look like scoring and that’s the real concern.”
Stelling then asked: “When they conceded the third goal, [Jordan] Pickford very publicly berates James Tarkowski before the game gets underway again. That can’t do any good in terms of morale can it?”
Smith: “I think it’s just frustration from the players, and desperation to win. For Bournemouth’s second goal the referee has to blow his whistle, Tarkowski’s gone down with a head injury. You could see the frustration of Conor Coady straight away, going to the referee.
“Everton have to stay up. They’ll be in another relegation battle it looks like by the performances at the moment, so they have to get themselves out of that, try to stay in the league then just build with Frank Lampard.”
It’s been a miserable week for Everton, and not least for those fans who twice made the long trip to Bournemouth to see abject defeats.
The strongest line-up did as badly as the back ups on Saturday and saw the team arrive at the World Cup break in the kind of furious atmosphere not really witnessed since Rafael Benitez was in charge.
Things have taken a turn for the worse very quickly this season, and a team that just weeks ago was showing signs of significant growth sudden seems devoid of inspiration.
Fans have connected to Lampard in a way they were never going to with Benitez, but the angry scenes at the final whistle, where Alex Iwobi’s shirt was thrown back at him from the fans and Pickford left shrugging and shaking his head as he came away, suggested a turn.
It’s not how the team or the fanbase wanted to get here but the World Cup break is at least respite from a spiralling situation.
A relegation battle is by no means an inevitability if the positivity of a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions, that only came to an end just over a month ago, can be recaptured.
There aren’t many signs of that happening imminently so the weeks off now need to be fully taken advantage of to bring about a major reset of the team’s fortunes for the rest of the campaign.