Dele Alli’s outstanding performance to Everton’s crucial 1-1 draw with Leicester might be the catalyst for him to re-ignite his Everton career, according to manager Frank Lampard.
Lampard’s first pick as a substitute just before the hour as he chased the game, but Alli didn’t have an impact until the second minute of added time.
He reclaimed control after chasing down a ball into the corner, and his cross set up Richarlison to score, putting them four points ahead of 18th-placed Burnley ahead of their home game against Southampton on Thursday.
It was Alli’s eighth appearance – all as a substitute – since his deadline-day transfer from Tottenham, but Lampard is hoping it will be the catalyst for him to reclaim his form.
When asked about his substitution, the manager stated, “We needed a goal and he has trained well.”
“It’s not easy to expect guys who don’t get much playing time to step up and make a difference, but you have to prepare hard to prove your manager you deserve a chance, and he has.”
“Clearly, he did it in training, and then you have your bit of luck or something occurs for you, as Dele did.”
“He deserved it; he rushed into the corner, bullied someone, and returned the ball to the box, where we scored.”
“I was very impressed with that aspect of it from him, and hopefully that will serve as a good beginning point for him.”
After seven years at Tottenham, Lampard admits the transfer to a new club – especially one that was suffering – was always going to be difficult for the 26-year-old.
“I don’t think the tale with Dele was ever going to be straightforward; we know the scenario he was in when he came to us in terms of how the last couple of seasons have gone and the high level he reached at Tottenham for a long time.”
“Sometimes you have to work and fight your way through problems, and that’s what we’re doing with him right now.”
“We have a high level of communication, and I explain a lot to him about the demands of training and application, as well as being prepared for whenever that moment arrives.”
Everton benefited more from a point than Leicester, who remain in ninth place and 11 points adrift of European qualification.
With a Europa Conference League semi-final against Jose Mourinho’s Roma on the horizon, manager Brendan Rodgers acknowledges the team’s priorities have shifted.
When asked if European qualification via a league position was out of the question, the Foxes manager replied, “Probably.”
“If we can finish in the top half of the standings and reach the final of the competition we’re in, it will be a fantastic season for us, given where we were with players and injuries.”
“The league still has a lot of games to play, and you have to respect the fans who go from all over the country.”
“We will give everything till the last whistle goes on the last game of the season in every game we play, but the European competition is certainly vital for us since it provides us a chance to qualify for Europe for a third season.”