Everton manager Frank Lampard said the fans’ support was crucial to the relegation-threatened club in an important 1-0 Premier League victory over Chelsea on Sunday.
“The fans were the man of the match today, from the drive in to the support, which we need with where we are,” Lampard told Sky Sports.
Everton’s fans had promised a feisty atmosphere ahead of their must-win clash with Chelsea at Goodison Park and from fireworks outside the visitors’ hotel in the middle of the night to a raucous greeting for the home team’s bus, they brought it.
“If it’s us against the world, that’s fine. Let’s have a siege mentality for these final games – because it’s that sort of spirit that can and will get us out of this,” a statement from the Everton Fans Forum said this week.
With the club facing their first relegation since 1954 having started the day five points from safety, fans greeted the team bus in their hundreds along Goodison Road, lighting flares that turned the air blue.
“They (the supporters) are in the middle of it, I’m pleased the players can see that and what it means to the fans. They got behind us and were nicely aggressive. We have been good at Goodison since I have been here and we have to maintain that,” Lampard said.
“We have to stay level-headed because there are a lot of points to play for and we are still in the relegation zone. We have to go with that same spirit in every game.”
Everton earned their win thanks to a Richarlison goal, but also had goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to thank for a number of excellent saves.
“Chelsea are a team that is always going to put you under pressure in the latter stages of the game, especially considering it is 1-0. We did brilliantly, we dug in, the team, the whole stadium,” Lampard said.
“Jordan made great saves. He is such a great lad, he is England’s number one and that is the reason why. That is top-level goalkeeping.”
Everton, who have five more matches to play this season, are two points behind both Burnley and Leeds United, but have a game in hand.