Frank Lampard ranked escaping relegation as “possibly at the pinnacle” of his managerial career after Everton secured their top-flight status with a game remaining thanks to a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.
The Toffees will play in the top flight for a 69th straight season – only Arsenal currently have a longer run with their 97th season approaching – but it hasn’t been easy.
After struggling all season with Lampard’s players being in a situation where they were two games away from losing their long stay in England’s top flight, Lampard’s players put in even more hard work in their last home game .
Poor defense allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew to both score within 36 minutes, but a rousing second-half performance ensured Michael Keane and Richarlison brought the hosts back even before Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header five minutes before the end the first of two hits sparked merry mass invasions.
“An incredible night. I’ve been playing for a long time, training for a relatively short time and I’m lucky enough to be a part of amazing things and that’s fitting,” said Lampard, who qualified for the Champions League with Chelsea.
“It’s right up there, possibly up there. We had a great night in Leeds with Derby but that feeling was special: we didn’t win anything tonight but the feeling is special.”
The rivals’ fans, particularly those in the red half of town, have poked fun at the scenes after the final whistle as fans celebrated wildly on the pitch watched by the squad, but Lampard defended it.
“Bring it on. People say you celebrate staying up, but it means so much. People won’t forget that.
“Evertonians will say this is very Everton but it’s a special night, the scenes are well deserved
“What this means for the club top down, bottom up: fans, board, players, staff. This is something special.”
Palace manager Patrick Vieira was disappointed his players were unable to maintain the control of the first half after the break.
“All that changed was that we didn’t respect the game as much as we did in the first half,” he said.
“We were putting too much pressure and not moving the ball fast enough and allowing them to build that momentum and that confidence.
“It’s about managing the game in a 2-0 win and we didn’t do that well enough in the second half.
“We gave them hope and when we put pressure on them they scored one goal, two goals, three goals – when we conceded the first goal it made it difficult for us.”
Vieira said he was happy with how the pitch invasion was handled, adding: “The referee handled it really well.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/frank-lampard-says-escaping-relegation-may-be-his-best-achievement-as-manager-41669009.html Frank Lampard says escaping relegation could be his best achievement as a manager