Frank Lampard has sent a warning to his Everton players after they were beaten 4-0 by MLS side Minnesota United on Wednesday night, while he has urged the club to start investing in the squad.
The Toffees narrowly avoided relegation last season, only securing their survival in the penultimate game of the campaign, and have failed to strengthen over the summer.
Free transfer James Tarkowski is their only signing so far, while they sold Richarlison to Tottenham and lost the likes of Jonjoe Kenny and Fabian Delph when their contracts expired.
Everton gave a lacklustre display at the Allianz Field in the final match of their US tour and Lampard believes it underlines how much work is required on and off the pitch, calling for new signings and suggesting his players lacked the fight and work rate he demands.
‘The players have to work and understand we were in a relegation battle for a big portion of last season,’ he told Everton TV.
‘We had an amazing night [against Crystal Palace] and an amazing run but, as soon as that finished, I put it to bed very quickly, so the players have to put it to bed as well, because we were in that fight for a reason. And if we don’t want to be in that situation again, they have to better and I have to be better.
‘As a club, it [the Minnesota game] reinforced the situation in terms of what we need to do with the squad, because it has to be stronger that what we saw tonight.
‘We’re all [as a club] very collectively joined up on that and it reinforces the thoughts we’ve all got. It’s important to think in that way because you want to get better and personnel is key.
‘There is no doubt about it. When you think of where we were last year, we have lost a big player in Richarlison. We wish him well, but our club now continues.
‘We know there is a void in forward areas, we are short in numbers there. Also, through the team, there are things I want to strengthen, and I can be honest about that, because a club like Everton has to have a competitive squad.
‘The players must be up for the fact they have to fight to play in the team. For me, that starts on day one of pre-season and ends at the end of the season.
‘That’s the disappointing thing tonight for me – the lads have trained well and trained hard out here but that performance should give them a lot to think about on the plane home, because it’s certainly given me a lot to think about.’
He added: ‘If there is to be good that comes out of this, then the players in the dressing room need to understand that they’ve put in a very poor performance individually and collectively, and got well beaten.’
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