SOUTHAMPTON (Reuters) – Everton manager Frank Lampard says his players need a mentality shift after their limp 2-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton on Saturday left the side hovering not far above the relegation zone.
Everton were the better side in the opening 15 minutes and were briefly on top at the start of the second half, but for the rest were out-fought and out-thought by a Southampton team that might have won by a greater margin.
The visitors gifted their hosts midfield possession for the opening goal, and never recovered from that setback, which seemed to deflate the side and drain the confidence out of them.
“The things they (Southampton) want to do, win the ball back in midfield and counter, we gifted that to them,” Lampard told reporters.
“Afterwards I did not like the reaction. I am here for a reason because we are down in a position we don’t want to be in. In the two games at Goodison I have seen some really good things, in the two games away, not so much.
“An individual mistake demands a reaction, not just a playing reaction but a mentality reaction and I didn’t feel that from them today.
“I know they are good lads and want to react but sometimes when you have been in a hard run away from home it is easy to seep back into (bad habits).”
Lampard says there will be some hard conversations this week as they prepare to host leaders Manchester City on Saturday.
“The players need to understand that second half was not good enough. It is not good enough to lose second balls consistently, it is not good enough to try and miss out (the midfield) and play to the strikers.
“I have to speak to them because I have been very positive and as staff we have had an uplift but today we drifted back into being a team I don’t want us to be, so the players need to hear it. You learn more from a defeat than a win.”
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson)