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Everton boss Lampard: Big summer decisions due; we need to keep our best players

 


Everton boss Frank Lampard admits this season's Great Escape cannot be allowed to be repeated.

The Toffees secured their Premier League status in dramatic fashion on Thursday night, coming from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2.

It sparked wild scenes inside and outside Goodison Park, as fans invaded the pitch and celebrated long into the night, with Lampard and his players soaking up the acclaim.

Put to him that Everton were too big a club to be fighting relegation, Lampard replied: "But is it? What right does Everton have to be Premier League safe every year and that will continue forever more?

"There are a lot of decisions that have to be made to make sure that happens. We need to try and find improvements. Nothing is a given.

"We were in this position because we deserved to be. It is a great, great feeling but the things we can do to make it better are things we have to work and effect.

"We want to take the club forward. It has to improve - we have to, I have to. I have to get to work in pre-season.

"Can we make the squad more balanced? I believe we can. It is important we look at it quickly. We have (director of football) Kevin Thelwell now, we have the board that are interested in trying to get the best out of this club.

"We don't want to be here next year but we understand if we don't make positive moves it is possible. It is important we work quickly."

As well as making smart signings, Lampard is also desperate to keep hold of his star players – namely goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and strikers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who both scored crucial goals against Palace.

"Those conversations have been on hold because everyone knew our situation," admitted Lampard.

"I am not silly. Players want to play in the Premier League and all of those players you have mentioned want to. So now those conversations can start.

"You saw the quality levels of Jordan throughout the season, but in the last six weeks particularly, and of Dominic and Richarlison against Palace.

"We want to be successful, we want to continue in that way so those conversations can start from now."

Everton have breached the Premier League's Financial Fair Play rules after posting huge losses for three years in a row.

But asked if he would have to sell to buy this summer, Lampard replied: "I have not felt that I have to do this. I know it is a big story. I know FFP. But I don't know the details.

"If I had my way, let me keep the players who have performed really well for the club."

Lampard's final word went to the fans, who have lined the streets outside Goodison ahead of recent home games to cheer the team bus into the stadium – a support he says his side cannot take for granted.

"I don't think we can expect 10,000 people to turn up and parade us in every game. It doesn't work that way," added Lampard.

"They have dragged us over the line with that kind of behaviour, but we as a club need to start fresh from zero next season. The goodwill and the good feeling has been great but we have to affect it."

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