Frank Lampard declared himself “absolutely delighted” while also stressing that “it’s only a start” after Everton recorded their first Premier League win under him by beating Leeds 3-0 at Goodison Park.
The Toffees went 2-0 up in the first half thanks to headers from Seamus Coleman and fellow defender Michael Keane in the 10th and 23rd minutes respectively.
Rodrigo struck the hosts’ bar in between and did so again late in the first half, before Richarlison’s 78th-minute shot went in off Anthony Gordon to wrap up the victory for Lampard’s men, who moved five points clear of the relegation zone.
Lampard – who saw his side open his tenure with a 4-1 FA Cup win over Brentford last Saturday, only to lose 3-1 at Newcastle in the league three days later – said: “I’m absolutely delighted.
“From minute one, right through the game, against a really good team… Leeds are a fantastic team, we saw it against Aston Villa in the week (a 3-3 draw), they never stop, great quality, but we didn’t allow them anything today.
“I know they hit the bar from distance, but in terms of our effort, our work rate, the nature of the team, how we wanted to play, how compact we were, some of the quality play, opportunities created, we created so many good opportunities in the game – I’m really happy.
“I’ve been here two weeks, it’s only a start, that’s for sure and I won’t get overexcited. But I can enjoy it. Seeing my team play like that was everything we wanted.”
What was only a second league win in 16 outings, and a first in seven, took the 16th-placed Merseyside outfit to within a point of Marcelo Bielsa’s 15th-placed Leeds.
It was Everton’s first clean sheet since early November, achieved without the likes of injured duo Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey, and Lampard added: “Credit to the lads. Defending is a team effort and it starts from the front and that was what was so enjoyable and good about today.
“The front men, the wide men jumping out to people, the compact nature of the team, and then when you do have to defend, which Leeds will always make you in your box, we dealt with things great.
“It’s a good thing for the team to feel the confidence of a clean sheet. I know it’s been a while, we’ll keep working on that and it’s so integral to getting us to where we want to be. It was a huge part of the game for us today.”
Bielsa described the result as “fair” and said he had made a mistake with regard to how he deployed midfielder Mateusz Klich.
“That was an error on my part,” the Argentinian said.
“I put Mateusz Klich in front of our three centre-backs and he couldn’t do what he does best, which is make runs in attack.
“I assigned a task to him that was going to be difficult for him to do.”
Bielsa also confirmed substituting Raphinha at half-time was a tactical move, and was awaiting further information on Stuart Dallas after he came off in the first half due to injury.
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