(Reuters) – Relegation-threatened Everton must focus on themselves and will take inspiration from their passionate fans in Thursday’s home Premier League game against Crystal Palace, manager Frank Lampard said.
Everton are 16th in the table with 36 points, two points above Burnley who occupy the final relegation spot in 18th. Watford and Norwich City have been relegated to the second-tier Championship.
Victory over Palace would guarantee Everton another season in the top flight, where they have played since 1954.
“We go into this game knowing we need a couple more points for safety, but it’s just about focusing on ourselves,” Lampard told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s nice it is in our hands. If we can put in the right performance and tap into the atmosphere that will be special, then we know we will have an opportunity to be where we need to be.”
Lampard expects the match against Patrick Vieira’s Palace would be difficult.
“They are a team driven by a coach who has always had a winner’s mentality. I expect nothing but the best version and that is what we have to prepare for,” Lampard said.
Midfielder Donny van de Beek and defender Michael Keane are available for the Palace game after recovering from injuries.
The manager also praised the Everton fans and said the atmosphere at Goodison Park could provide a boost for his players.
“I’m sure they will be coming tomorrow with everything and we really appreciate that,” Lampard said. “It is such a big push for us. They will try and make it a special night for Goodison because we know the situation.
“At the same time, the players have to turn up and play with the same passion and fight as every Evertonian that is in the stadium.”
Everton end their campaign at Arsenal on Sunday.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk, editing by Ed Osmond)