EPL

Howard claims Everton players are in 'dreamland', questions Lampard's decision to stick with Keane

By Sports Desk April 03, 2022

Everton's players are in "dreamland" and the squad are suffering from a significant lack of leadership, says Tim Howard.

Frank Lampard's team lost again on the road on Sunday, going down 2-1 to West Ham in another blow to their chances of staying up.

Just three points separate Everton from the bottom three, and the Toffees still have to face fellow strugglers Burnley and Watford away from home, where they have taken just six points all season.

Since the start of October, Everton have won the fewest points in the top flight (12) and are the only side in the division to not win an away game in that timeframe (P11 D2 L9), while Lampard is the club's first manager in the Premier League era to lose his first four away matches in charge of the club in the competition.

Mason Holgate's deflected strike restored parity at the London Stadium after Aaron Cresswell's free-kick put West Ham ahead, yet Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi then combined to undo Everton's hard work.

Michail Antonio pounced on the error and Jarrod Bowen scored from the resulting rebound. Keane – captain of Everton in the absence of Seamus Coleman – later received a second yellow card for a lunge on striker Antonio.

Howard, who played under current West Ham manager David Moyes during a nine-year stint at Goodison Park, was angered by what he saw from Everton's players at full-time.

"I don't see a leader on this team. I see smiles. I see them losing again and I see smiles after the whistle," said Howard, who is a pundit on the USA Network.

"I see no urgency, no one running to get the ball, chasing it, kicking up the pitch. It's as if they're in dreamland that they're not in this thing.

"[There is] lack of leadership. Three red cards in the last three games. You have to basically say to each other, 'We can't even win a game with 11 players, don't you dare get sent off', and it just keeps happening."

Everton have had a player sent off in each of their last three Premier League games, matching a record in the competition for successive matches by a team with a player having been shown red. It had previously occurred on 10 occasions.

Lampard was only given his marching orders three times across his entire Premier League playing career, and Everton are the first Premier League side to have a player see red in three games in a row since Watford in December 2017.

Everton have made eight errors leading to goals in the Premier League, at least three more than any other team this season, and Howard questioned why Keane – who picked up his first booking for fouling Antonio before half-time – was even kept on the pitch by Lampard.

"You have to protect your team, knowing that it was a rash challenge, he hasn't been in the best of form," Howard said.

"He's giving you the right opportunity to say, 'Sorry Michael, you're coming off, I have to put somebody on who I know can finish the game'."

While West Ham boosted their hopes of pushing for the Champions League, Everton stay 17th, with that huge Burnley clash at Turf Moor next up on Wednesday.

Everton lost Donny van de Beek to injury in the warm-up, with Lampard confirming the on-loan midfielder would be assessed before the trip to face the Clarets.

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    Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins

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    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Crystal Palace: 31.8%
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    Draw: 28.7

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