Everton boss Frank Lampard defends Anthony Gordon against diving claims

Everton manager Frank Lampard has strongly defended young striker Anthony Gordon against suggestions he is a diver.

The 21-year-old was booked for a simulation in the first half of last weekend’s Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield after referee Stuart Attwell ruled he tried to make the most of the challenge by Naby Keita inside the penalty area.

Gordon was also denied a kick after the break following an entanglement with Joel Matip, an incident which prompted the Football Association to write to Lampard asking him to explain his comments on the view. officials about it.

Half of the Premier League’s 12 simulation bookings this season have been for Everton players, with just three against Liverpool, but Lampard has dismissed claims Gordon is going down too easily.

“I don’t think that’s the case, I think Anthony’s booking was the first of his senior career for the simulation,” he said.

“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a stone penalty, but there is definitely contact.

“The second half is a penalty in my opinion. The defender stepped on his foot and gave him a push – not a big one – but a quick push, to knock him down and we didn’t get a penalty for that.

“None of us in this room run as fast as Anthony or change direction as quickly as him and at this speed many wingers will have incidents in and around the box.”

On the criticism that has come at Gordon, inevitably most of it on social media, and the effect it may have on him, Lampard added: “He doesn’t feel it. He’s a dedicated boy, he just wants to play well for this club.

“I think it would be unfair to put this (diving tag) on ​​Anthony.

“I played the game for a long time and if I changed direction – maybe not as fast as Anthony – and there was contact, I would go down.

“It’s not simulation, it’s not diving as far as I’m concerned, and it’s been happening for years and years.

“The boy is a human and he knows if you cross someone it’s a foul, you want a penalty because you care. He likes playing for the club.

On Sunday, Lampard comes up against Chelsea, the club he represented for 13 years as a player and sacked him as head coach in January last year.

He’s only faced the Blues once before as a manager – for the Championship Derby in a 3-2 Carabao Cup loss in October 2018.

“Chelsea will always be a big part of my life, I was there 13 years as a player and 18 months as a manager, but that (the Chelsea association) doesn’t seem to be a big part of this weekend. end,” he added.

“My only thought is Everton and getting the team ready to try and win the game.”

When his team kicks off on Sunday, they could be even further adrift in 18th than the two points they currently are as fellow contenders Burnley and Leeds both play ahead of them.

With just six games to avoid a first relegation in 71 years, there is little margin for error, especially in their three home games with such abysmal away form having brought just one win. in August.

“I’ve been very used to dealing with pressure. As a player, I would have been upset to have a season without pressure – it means you’re not fighting for something,” Lampard said.

“Our task is very clear, we have six games and we have to get as many points as possible.

“It’s in our hands and we have to deal with that pressure.”

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