rank Lampard says his Everton side can now “relax” and throw off the shackles ahead of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, but vowed to approach the game “in the right way” given the top four race is still alive.
Everton came from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Goodison Park last night, securing their Premier League status for next season with a game to spare.
Arsenal must beat the Toffees at the Emirates to have any chance of overhauling Tottenham to salvage a top four finish, with Antonio Conte’s men needing only a point away at relegated Norwich to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal’s cause may well have been boosted by the fact that Lampard’s men are no longer scrapping for their lives, but the former Blues boss believes a new sense of freedom could bring more improvement from his team.
“I will relax more and I don’t mean that in a light-hearted way because I understand Arsenal and Tottenham are in a battle and we’ll go and do our absolute best to approach the game in the right way,” he said.
“At the same time, we’ve not had that luxury – others have and we saw that playing against Brentford and then again against Palace in the first half. There’s something nice about ‘relaxing’.
“Since my first day here we’ve not had chance to do that and maybe that’s the Premier League, but our situation also added to that.
“It’ll be nice for the players to have that feeling.
“A couple of players who maybe haven’t had opportunities will get opportunities, but we’ll be going full pelt to try to get the right result.”