Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand have both backed their former England team-mate Frank Lampard to steer Everton away from relegation trouble.
The Toffees are looking nervously over their shoulder after suffering a loss against Newcastle United on Tuesday in the Premier League.
While Lampard got a tune out of the players in his first game in charge – a 4-1 FA Cup triumph against Brentford – some familiar frailties were on show against the Magpies in a dismal 3-1 defeat.
After the midweek fixtures, Everton are now just two points above the relegation zone, albeit with two games in hand on Norwich City in 18th. Worryingly for Lampard, the Toffees have won just one Premier League game since September.
Speaking on BT Sport’s Premier League Tonight program, Owen and Ferdinand were asked to predict the three teams that would get relegated.
They both opted for Burnley, Norwich and Watford, and while Owen believes Everton still have a lot of work to do, he was confident Lampard would be able to steady the ship.
“They’ve got more quality than those three teams,” said Owen.
“They are in it, but I think there’s a bit more of a feel good factor about them now. The fans will get behind them.
“Frank Lampard is a good appointment I think. They’ve slipped far in the last few years. I remember Everton a few years ago they were absolutely brilliant and they’ve just gone worse and worse and worse and worse.
“Some really poor signings. A lot of money wasted. But I think Lampard could – he should – steer them to safety and then they can look a little bit higher next year.”
Ferdinand believes the attacking firepower available to the new Toffees boss will be enough to propel them away from the Premier League trapdoor.
“No, he’d want the three points,” said the former defender when asked if the Newcastle loss may be a blessing for Lampard, as it highlighted a lot of Everton’s flaws. “He’d want the three points to get you some confidence.
“He went in and there was a bounce immediately with the first result in the cup and then you want to continue that going to St James’ Park. It’s not an easy place to go.
“I think Frank has got a tough job. But if you look at Dominic Calvert-Lewin – stays fit, gets a bit of form going. Then Richarlison up front as your front two, you’re licking your lips to stay in that league.”