By Carl Markham, PA
Everton manager Frank Lampard is “expecting the worst” in terms of what their relegation rivals can achieve in the final few matches of the season and has warned his players of the dangers of thinking their job is done.
Victory over Leicester made it 10 points from five matches and had the effect of lifting them out of the relegation zone into 16th place, one point ahead of both Burnley and Leeds with a match in hand.
Their next assignment is away at already-relegated Watford but Lampard has stressed they cannot underestimate their opponents or consider they have already done the hard work.
“It’s the only message for us. As much as we enjoyed the weekend, it was a game which got us out of the relegation zone with four games to go but it is very dangerous to relax on that,” said Lampard.
“As much as we can talk about the fans, us as players and staff, the only message is we have to go now and finish the job, which is a tough job.
“We have to expect the worst, everyone else can win, but we can control ourselves so there is absolutely no way we can relax. That’s the biggest message.
“To under-estimate it because Watford are relegated would be our biggest danger. Every game in the Premier League is dangerous, especially when you travel away. The minute you think you have cracked it, it becomes dangerous.”
Sunday’s victory at Leicester was Everton’s first on the road in the Premier League since August but, with two more away games to come, Lampard wants to see more consistency.
“It’s a step forward. Getting one result doesn’t mean you go and get more,” he added.
“You have to understand why we got the result: the team was together in every moment, fought for every chance, and defended very tight.
“That’s what gets you good results away from home and consistently doing that is the big challenge.”
Everton are likely to be without centre-back Yerry Mina until the final-day trip to Arsenal after the Colombia international was forced off with a calf injury at Leicester.
In the three matches Mina has played since returning from a thigh problem which kept him out for over two months, the club have taken seven points – although he was only on the field for 18 minutes at the King Power Stadium.
“Yerry has a small injury in his calf and so he won’t be playing,” said Lampard.
“We’re probably looking towards the last game that he’ll be available for.”