'My only thought is Everton' – Lampard not focused on the emotion of Chelsea reunion

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Frank Lampard is putting the emotion of a reunion with Chelsea to one side as he bids to keep Everton in the Premier League.

Everton dropped into the bottom three for the first time this season when Burnley defeated Wolves on Sunday, leaving the Toffees needing a win at Anfield in the Merseyside derby to move themselves out of the drop zone.

A resilient performance against Liverpool failed to produce a positive result, however, with a 2-0 defeat leaving Everton two points behind Burnley and five adrift of Leeds United, and both of those teams play on Saturday ahead of Sunday's meeting with Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Lampard was appointed by Everton in January, just over a year after he was dismissed by Chelsea. He will become the 10th former Chelsea boss to take charge of a Premier League match against the Blues – only one of the previous nine has won their first such match (D1 L7), with Claudio Ranieri winning 2-1 with Leicester City in December 2015.

However, Everton do have a good recent record against Chelsea at Goodison Park, winning each of their last three league meetings, including two against Blues teams managed by Lampard in 2019-20 and 2020-21. They last won four home top-flight games against the side from west London between 1970 and 1973.

Indeed, the last time Everton started a day in the relegation zone, they went on to defeat Lampard's Chelsea 3-1 in December 2019.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea lost to Everton in December 2019
Frank Lampard's Chelsea lost to Everton in December 2019

Lampard is Chelsea's record goalscorer and remains a club great despite his ill-fated 18-month spell as manager, but the former midfielder has paid little mind to meeting his old team for a second time in his coaching career, after his Derby County side lost 4-3 in the 2018-19 EFL Cup.

"Chelsea is always a big part of my life, 13 years of my career as a player and 18 months as a manager and nobody would expect me to talk differently about the club but it doesn't feel that that's the important part of it, certainly for me," Lampard told a news conference.

"My only thought is Everton, my only thought is to try and win the game and that's what every person at Chelsea would expect me to do – I'll focus completely on that.

"Chelsea are a fantastic team, I worked with the majority of the players there, I know the qualities they have and they're a very good team with a fantastic coach."

Despite Everton's perilous position with six games remaining, Lampard insisted he is enjoying his job.

Asked if he would hope to stay on if Everton were to be relegated from the Premier League for the first time, he said: "I don't want to get drawn on that question. What I will say is I've loved every minute of this club.

"People ask me from the outside, because of the position we're in – 'Are you enjoying it? How tough is it?'. I absolutely love it.

"I've been welcomed incredibly the fans and supported by them and I will do everything to get this club back to where I want it to be.

"I'm not going to jump into the future and say what may be, because it's not worth asking that question, but in terms of my dedication to this job, I'll absolutely give it everything for as long as Everton want me here and I think I can get them to where I think we can get to."

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