Everton’s ability to add to their squad during the January transfer window is being hampered by the issues affecting the club both on and off the pitch.
The Toffees have just one win from their last 13 matches in all competitions and lie 19th in the Premier League, while fans’ groups have been protesting against the board.
Hundreds of home fans remained in Goodison Park following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against bottom-side Southampton for an organised sit-in, during which they chanted ‘sack the board’.
Everton’s directors were told by security advisors not to attend the game against Southampton because of a “real and credible threat to their safety and security”.
Concerns for board members have increased in recent weeks, with Denise Barrett-Baxendale, the chief executive, put in a headlock by a fan at a recent home game. Barrett-Baxendale was not hurt.
Lampard: We need competition up front
Everton are yet to sign any new players this month, whereas clubs around them at the foot of the Premier League, such as Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Southampton, have recruited during the current window.
Lampard has taken note of the work being done by Everton’s relegation rivals and says he and the club are continuing to work on bringing in attacking players.
“We absolutely want to help the squad and make the squad stronger,” said Lampard, whose side have scored just 15 goals in 19 league games.
“I’m aware that teams around us are working on their squads and getting competition in forward areas.
“Particularly for us and teams where we are, we know we need more competition and more of a clinical nature about us at the top of the pitch.
“It’s not an easy window. We’re working.”
West Ham – who host Everton on Saturday in a game that could prove crucial for both teams’ chances of survival, as well as the job security of their managers – are set to sign Danny Ings from Aston Villa in yet another blow to Lampard.
Everton were keen to take the striker on loan and Lampard admitted: “He’s a fantastic striker.
“I’ve always had a lot of admiration for him as a player and as a lad. I can’t say I know him that well but he seems a real team lad.”
Pushed on whether he wanted Ings to join him at Goodison Park, Lampard simply said: “He’s a top striker.”
‘Fans have the right to voice opinion’
As well as staying inside Goodison Park to protest against the board, videos also emerged after the defeat to Southampton of Everton supporters confronting Yerry Mina and Anthony Gordon.
Lampard defended the right of the club’s fans to voice their opinion – but urged them not to approach his players in the same way again.
“I’ve spoken to some of the players,” revealed Lampard. “Firstly, this is not just an Everton situation. I’ve been at teams where similar things have happened to myself, to a degree, and other players.
“This club has a huge passion, which is pretty unique. I said that in the good times, so I can say it in the not so good times.
“Sometimes passion can overspill. The majority of Evertonians just want this team to do well and they’ve got a right to voice an opinion.
“We don’t want fans going up to players and I’d love to not see that again. But I also understand the passion of fans, and the players have to understand that sometimes they have to take some things.”
Lampard also warned his players not to use events off the field as an excuse for their poor performances on the pitch, saying: “One of the earliest things I learned in professional football – and maybe my upbringing – was that the minute you make excuses or apportion blame is the minute you fail.
“The first thing I would say to the players is to not look anywhere else but themselves. I understand a lack of confidence or something around them that is not helping and I have to try to mitigate that and support them.”
Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports
Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window opens on Sunday January 1, 2023 and closes at 11pm on Tuesday January 31, 2023.
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.