Frank Lampard is pleased with the competition for places in his Everton squad as he prepares to add Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek to his options.
Lampard began his reign as Everton manager with an emphatic 4-1 win over Brentford at the weekend, an impressive performance from his new side securing progress to the FA Cup’s fifth round at Goodison Park.
The Toffees return to Premier League action against Newcastle tomorrow evening, with the club in a precarious position with just four points separating Everton and the division’s relegation places.
Tomorrow’s opponents are one of the sides seeking to escape the bottom three and ahead of a crucial clash, Lampard spoke on his delight at being able to introduce deadline day arrivals Alli and Van de Beek to his options.
The duo were cup-tied at the weekend, but are in contention to feature at St James’ Park tomorrow evening.
“I was pleased they could see the performance they saw the other day [4-1 FA Cup win over Brentford] and the way we want to go,” Lampard said on the new arrivals at his pre-match press conference.
“They’ve been great in training and have integrated off the training pitch as lads. It’s important we’re a tight unit. As the players showed the other day, there’s competition in the squad now, which is the only way it can be at this level. It’s great to have them both in.”
Lampard spoke on the importance of Everton’s upcoming fixtures against Newcastle and Leeds, with both sides around the Toffees in the Premier League table.
The 43-year-old was keen to play down the decisiveness of the games, however, insisting there is ‘a long way to go’ as Everton look to move clear of danger.
“They’re important games, but we have to stay calm because there’s a long way to go,” he said.
“I’ve come here with 18 games left so to put everything on these two games would be the wrong attitude. We have to isolate them and focus on them in the right way. They’re against two strong teams. Tomorrow’s game is against a team that’s just reinforced themselves with signings and have a passionate fan base that can affect the game.
“We have to approach that without fear, with confidence, but I don’t want to put too much on these two games. We’ve got a long season to go to get to where we want to be.”
There was also confirmation from Lampard that Ben Godfrey is expected to be out until March with a hamstring problem, whilst Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph also remain sidelined.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been passed fit to return at Newcastle.