Frank Lampard was upset after full-time during Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Toffees were only 90 minutes away from a trip to Wembley Stadium, but after a strong start, they were convincingly thrashed 4-0 by their South London opponents.
Everton’s performance deteriorated considerably after falling behind in the 25th minute, with only two shots on target. In the aftermath of the defeat, Lampard said, “There’s only so much you can keep trying to sweeten someone up to generate confidence.” “You’re in the FA Cup quarter-finals, which is the most competitive part of football.” If you don’t have the confidence to play, you can ask, “Do you have the b******* to play?””
Andre Gomes and Abdoulaye Doucoure formed a central midfield partnership for Everton. Both, though, put in a horribly awful performance. Off the ball, they were too easy to beat and fairly unsuccessful with it.
Lampard would almost certainly not have chosen this midfield pairing if he had the option. Allan, a crucial midfielder, was suspended, while Donny van de Beek, a Manchester United loanee, was cup-tied.
The good news for Van de Beek and United is that after the international break, the Dutchman is almost guaranteed to return to the first squad. After all, the 24-year-old went to Goodison Park with the intention of gaining more regular minutes in order to reclaim his best form.
Even in difficult team conditions, he was rarely able to display his best at United, yet we have seen glimpses of it at Everton. Last month, Lampard praised him for the same reason.
“I’m quite taken aback. On a professional level, I’ve been quite impressed with his conditioning and game sharpness since chatting with him and seeing him practice and play. It doesn’t surprise you, though, when you watch him train.”
Van van Beek has the ability to play through the lines and give Everton a degree of calmness that none of the other midfielders in the squad can match. That argument is illustrated by the fact that in four of his six outings thus far, he’s had a pass success percentage of more than 90%.
Despite Everton’s poor form, the Dutchman is beginning to settle in England and impressing his current management. United officials will hope that, whatever happens at Everton between now and the end of the season, this loan term has provided him with the best possible platform to build on when he returns to Old Trafford next season.