By George Overhill

21st Jan, 2023 | 6:40pm

Frank Lampard calls players before Everton fans on the pitch at final whistle of West Ham defeat

Frank Lampard consoled his players and called for them to applaud the travelling Everton fans after yet another defeat at West Ham, Joe Thomas reports.

The third time the Toffees have faced a side in the relegation zone since returning to action after the World Cup saw a third defeat after a 2-0 reverse at the London Stadium, to heap pressure on the manager.

Amid a climate where the spotlight has been directed onto the supporters in a big way by the club, and after receiving support when interacting with some supporters ahead of the game, Lampard came onto the pitch at the final whistle and made a point of bringing his players to applaud the away fans.

Posting on Twitter after the final whistle at the London Stadium the Liverpool Echo’s Thomas wrote along with footage of the manager on the pitch: “Frank Lampard, on the final whistle, went onto the pitch to console his players before calling for them to join him and applaud the travelling Everton fans.”

Time up?

Lampard will know that he is walking a tightrope with his job whatever assurances he has been given behind the scenes.

He made a point of acknowledging the away support who will be feeling thoroughly concerned about the long-term prospects of this team.

If this is to be the manager’s final game in charge then it is a mark of how his relationship with the support has always been far stronger than that of his predecessor Rafael Benitez, and indeed his employers the Everton board, even for those fans who believe he should be replaced.

There has been anger directed towards the players at times as performances have been nowhere near good enough, but the real upset is with those in charge.

Whether Lampard stays or goes at this point there will be problems for as long as the current board are in place and continue making the poor decisions that have got the club to this point.

This was a crucial game in the relegation battle against a side lacking in confidence themselves but despite plenty of possession and a couple of decent chances they never truly threatened to overturn the result.

Everton are in big trouble, and what happens next will be instructive for the rest of the season, but even if Lampard hasn’t been able to control events during the 90 minutes anywhere near enough his actions at full time showed respect to the support.