Graeme Souness has pointed the finger at Frank Lampard for Everton ’s 3-2 defeat to Brentford after the Toffees’ indiscipline cost them a golden chance to secure their Premier League safety.
The Toffees were 1-0 up in the first half through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike when Jared Branthwaite was shown a straight red card for bringing down Ivan Toney and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. The visitors equalised through a Seamus Coleman own goal before Richarlison’s penalty put the 10-man hosts back in front.
But after performing well in the first half, Everton came unstuck after the interval and conceded twice in quick fashion with Frank Wissa and Rico Henry scoring in the space of three minutes. Salomon Rondon was also dismissed for a two-footed lunge just minutes after coming on to pile on the misery for Lampard’s side.
And Souness, working the game for Sky Sports as a pundit, believes that Everton’s approach to the second half was too negative — and blamed Lampard for his tactics after noticing they were deployed deeper in the second half.
“[Everton are] under pressure. I thought they’d do well today and win today. They’ve put themselves back into a difficult situation,” Souness said. “They can’t complain. You feel for Branthwaite getting sent off. He was unlucky because it happened so quickly he had a chance to step back and let Toney in on goal. It is a sending off by the letter of the law.
“The other sending off is so unavoidable. Everton were doing okay. This isn’t a criticism, half-time comes, Frank sits them down and goes over how they’re going to play. They just sat three or four yards deeper because of what the manager said, there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve said.
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“But psychologically for the players, they were on the back foot, where in the first half, even with 10 men, they were more adventurous. During the first half, when they were down to 10 men, they were doing well. You have to say, what they said would be correct, but it plants a negative seed in the players’ head.”
The Merseyside club are 16th and currently two points above the drop zone with two games remaining after Burnley lost 1-0 at Tottenham. Leeds, who have played a game more, salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Brighton to keep them outside the relegation zone.
Lampard remained hopeful that his players would get the club over the line and confirm their survival, with a crunch home game against Crystal Palace on Thursday, telling BBC Sport: “The first 20 minutes felt comfortable. The crowd were flying. No complaints about the players. We just have to rest a bit, stay positive, it’s in our hands and we’ll go again.”