Frank Lampard believes Everton’s dramatic escape from relegation was among the most “beautiful things” that have ever happened to him and said he enjoyed the stress of trying to keep them up.
Everton stayed up in their final home game of last season when, after being 2-0 down at half-time against Crystal Palace, they recovered to win 3-2, leading to scenes after the final whistle when Lampard was bouncing up and down on the roof of an executive box.
On Saturday he faces his former club Chelsea for the second time since his sacking in January 2021 and said he did plenty of soul-searching in a year out of the game before he was appointed at Goodison Park.
Lampard steered Chelsea to fourth place and the FA Cup final in his only full season in charge and blamed himself for some things and reflected with satisfaction on others as he admitted he put himself under pressure to succeed at Stamford Bridge.
He explained: “I had done a lot of thinking and [had] a lot of perspective and a look back at Chelsea. Some things you take absolute responsibility for in your own head, other things you think, ‘I did alright there’ and you put all those things together.
“I felt stronger coming here and that was helpful for me in my own self and the balance of my own life. Towards the end of my time there I took a lot on. It was my club and towards the end I was working under a lot of pressure because one or two defeats at Chelsea means pressure is coming and I knew it was coming. That was good for me to kind of reflect on and get perspective on.
“Everton was, for me, this incredible experience of a relegation battle which in the end was one of the most beautiful things in my life - to stand there against Palace having been 2-0 down, to win 3-2. Then you go away and you are right you weigh it all up and you realise you were tested to a different limit and I enjoyed it.
“I enjoyed the stress of it. When I say stress, I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed the challenge with my staff - I found out quite a bit about myself and my staff and we got over the line.”