Conor Coady, a boyhood Liverpool fan and former player, headed Wolves in front in the 46th minute and it proved to be the winning goal which edged their hosts further into relegation trouble. This was Everton’s eighth defeat in nine league matches and left them outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.
Everton’s misery was compounded by Jonjoe Kenny picking up two yellow cards in quick succession to leave the home side with 10 men for the final 10 minutes. There was stunned silence, and some boos, as Everton are left struggling with their lowest points tally at this stage of the season in their entire history: 22 points from 26 games.
“I’ve played for 20 years and I have seen plenty of reactions from crowds,” said Lampard. “I can’t stand there and say ‘Thanks very much for helping us play so well against Brentford and Leeds and Manchester City’ – and deserve more in that game – and not expect that the fans that want the team to do well, want the team to stay up and get wins, will not have reactions.”
The Everton manager is trying to look at the bigger picture as his team have 12 matches left in the campaign and a meeting with Newcastle United on Thursday and trips to Burnley and Watford to come. Yet this loss followed a dispiriting 5-0 thumping at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Monday and means Lampard is trying to prise out some fight from his players.
“I don’t put an emphasis on Goodison Park, I want to get points everywhere,” Lampard added. “It wasn’t more worrying as Tottenham. Tottenham wasn’t a good performance. Today in the first half we were the stronger team.
“The goal changed the whole feeling of the game and in the stadium, that is understandable the position the club is in. That’s been coming a long time. We have 12 games to go now so we can’t get stuck in the rut of looking at this game alone. We lost against a good team in a tight match with 10 men for the last period when you really want to push.”
'We have to work and fight'
Lampard, who confirmed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasn’t available due to illness, deployed a 3-4-3 system in the first half before switching to a 4-2-3-1 in the second half in an attempt to create more goalscoring chances — Everton have now failed to score in their last three league outings.
But tactical nuances are not at the forefront of Lampard’s mind currently, rather he is concentrating on ensuring that his players demonstrate that they want to stay in the league and show the required fight.
“It’s my job to be confident, to be positive, to be realistic - and the realistic view is we’ve got 12 games, some games in hand on other teams around us," Lampard said. "Of course they're only good if we can win them, and we're waiting probably for that moment where something turns in our favour.
“It was a difficult game for the lads today because we were ok until a cross and a clean header goes against us. Maybe that will turn in our favour. We can't think about ‘maybes' and ‘what ifs’, we absolutely just have to work and fight. That's what these positions demand.”