Frank Lampard saluted defiant goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as Everton climbed out of the Premier League bottom three.
England number one Pickford produced two fine saves to deny Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes as Everton snatched a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium to jump ahead of Leeds United and Burnley in the table.
Goals from Vitalii Mykolenko and Mason Holgate earned Everton a first away win in the league since August, boosting their hopes of preserving their top-flight status.
Manager Lampard, appointed at the end of January, has struggled at times to get a tune out of the squad he inherited from Rafael Benitez.
But Pickford is performing well just now, playing a key role in last week’s win over Chelsea. Lampard welcomed the latest impressive efforts of the former Sunderland man, who made seven saves to limit Leicester to one goal from Patson Daka.
“He’s in great form, and he’s getting the recognition he rightly deserves in the last week,” Lampard said.
“He did a couple of big saves for us. Everybody’s important, but you need those moments and for those top-level players to produce, and he produces.”
Ukrainian Mykolenko’s sixth-minute volleyed opener was pleasing to Lampard, who praised the 22-year-old’s attitude.
The Russian invasion of his homeland has inevitably been on Mykolenko’s mind, but Lampard said the left-back has shown impressive focus on his football, too.
“I’m really pleased for him, he’s been playing so well,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “For all that’s been going on for him at home, coming to the country and the Premier League and what’s going on back home for him, he’s dealt with it incredibly.
“It was great to get ourselves in front and get a nice feeling so early in the game.”
Everton are far from safe yet, sitting just a point clear of Burnley and Leeds, who are 17th and 18th respectively, though the Toffees do also boast a game in hand.
“We’re fighting together,” said Lampard. “We created a lot of good chances, rode our luck at times. It’s important to enjoy these moments but realise there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
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