Frank Lampard has told his players Everton could face a second successive relegation battle if they do not improve after they suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Minnesota United in a pre-season match.
Everton, who 2-0 lost to Arsenal at the weekend, have endured a difficult pre-season in which defender James Tarkowski, who arrived from Burnley on a free transfer, has been their only signing.
Everton diced with the drop last season, only clinching survival in their last home match when they came from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 but Lampard warned they could be embroiled in the fight to stay up again after they were thrashed by Minnesota, who are managed by the Toffees’ 1980s title-winner Adrian Heath.
Lampard started with regulars including Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Alex Iwobi, Anthony Gordon and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as well as new signing Tarkowski while Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey and Dele Alli were among the substitutes used.
And the manager said: “The players have to work and understand we were in a relegation battle for a big portion of last season.
“We had an amazing night [against Palace] and an amazing run. But as soon as that finished, I put it to bed very quickly, so the players have to put it to bed as well, because we were in that fight for a reason.
“If we don’t want to be in that situation again, they have to be better and I have to be better. If there is to be good to come out of this, the players and the dressing room have to understand that they have just put in a very poor performance individually and collectively and have been well beaten.”
Everton are yet to bring in a forward after the departure of Richarlison, whose total of 10 league goals last season was twice as many as anyone else managed.
Lampard added: “There is no doubt about it. When you think of where we were last year, we have lost a big player in Richarlison. We wish him well, but our club now continues. We know there is a void in forward areas. We are short in numbers there.”
Everton have two more friendlies, against Blackpool and Dynamo Kyiv, before they start the Premier League season against Lampard’s former club Chelsea.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies