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Lampard hungry to direct Everton passion play

Everton have appointed former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard as their manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract, the Premier League club said on Monday as they look to secure their status as a top flight team.

Everton, who have been ever-present in the top flight for the last 68 years, sacked Rafa Benitez this month after a 2-1 defeat at Norwich City left the Merseyside club six points above the relegation zone.

"I'm very hungry to get started. After speaking to the owner, chairman and the board, I very much felt their passion and ambition. I hope they felt my ambition and how hard I want to work to bring it together," Lampard said in a statement.

"You can feel the passion Everton fans have for their club. That will be hugely important. As a team – the competitive level that the Premier League brings and the position we are in the table – we certainly need that.

"It's a two-way thing. I think Everton is a unique club in that you can really understand what the fans want to see. The first thing they want is fight and desire and that must always be our baseline."

Lampard, 43, started his coaching career at second-tier Derby County in 2018 and after one season in charge he became manager of Chelsea, the club he helped to win several major trophies in 13 years as a player.

The former England midfielder led the London side to a fourth-placed league finish and the FA Cup final in his first season but was dismissed in January last year after a poor run of results.

"He has played at the very highest level of the game and has football in his blood. He impressed us all greatly during the thorough interview process," Everton owner Farhad Moshiri said.

Benitez was appointed six months ago but the former Liverpool manager was a controversial and unpopular choice for Everton fans.

Following a promising start to the season, Benitez failed to arrest Everton's slide down the table amid an injury crisis. The club has only one league win in 14 games since September, losing 10.

Everton had also approached Derby County manager Wayne Rooney, who spent two spells at Everton as a player. But the former England forward said he turned down their offer.

Duncan Ferguson took charge for one game as caretaker manager, losing to Aston Villa and leaving Everton in 16th - four points above 18th-placed Newcastle United.

They next host Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday before a league trip to Newcastle three days later.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Gareth Jones, Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters

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