BURNLEY, England (AP)Everton’s status as an ever-present in the Premier League is under serious threat.
Frank Lampard’s team tumbled to within a point of the relegation zone after conceding in the 85th minute to lose 3-2 at Burnley in a wild, end-to-end match on Wednesday.
Everton, which recently announced losses of more than 100 million pounds ($130 million) for the third straight year, has nine games to save its season but is facing an extremely difficult run-in.
Its next four opponents, for example, are Manchester United, Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea.
”They have to keep going,” Lampard said of his players. ”If we didn’t know we were in a fight before, we certainly do now.”
Burnley hadn’t scored in its last four games – and had netted only eight times in the past four months – but still managed to breach Everton’s flaky defense three times and move above Watford into 18th place, within striking distance of 17th-place Everton.
Maxwel Cornet grabbed the winner for Burnley, sweeping home a finish from substitute Matej Vydra’s low cross to give the home fans something to cheer after a miserable few months for Sean Dyche’s side.
Two penalties before halftime by Brazil forward Richarlison helped Everton recover from conceding a 12th-minute opener to Nathan Collins, who was left unmarked at the back post at a corner.
Jay Rodriguez made it 2-2 in the 57th before Cornet’s late intervention, which potentially leaves Lampard fighting for his job even though he only took over as Everton’s manager at the start of February – after owner Farhad Moshiri fired Rafa Benitez.
It was a sixth straight away defeat in the league for financially stricken club from Merseyside, which has played in England’s top division every season since 1954.
Last month, Everton halted its major sponsorship with companies belonging to Alisher Usmanov, the Russian metals tycoon who has been sanctioned by the European Union in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Usmanov is a longtime business partner of Moshiri and paid Everton 30 million pounds ($39 million) in January 2020 to secure an exclusive option on naming rights for its proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
Funding that move has led to Everton cutting spending in the transfer market over the past year. Relegation doesn’t bear thinking about for Everton in a financial sense but is now a realistic possibility, especially given the quality of opponents coming up.
”It doesn’t matter who we play,” Lampard said. ”One of our best performancs was against Manchester City. I wouldn’t look at the fixture list. It’s about what we do.”
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