Everton breathed life into their hopes of Premier League survival – and dented Manchester United’s Champions League aspirations further – as Anthony Gordon’s deflected strike secured a 1-0 home win at a raucous Goodison Park.
Gordon’s shot deflected off Harry Maguire’s back (27) beyond David de Gea to provide the hosts with the slice of good fortune that has deserted them so often in this torrid campaign.
United, who are close to appointing Erik ten Hag as their new manager, struggled to find their rhythm thereafter as the returning Cristiano Ronaldo’s late booking for petulance typified another disjointed, lethargic display under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
After self-imploding at Burnley in midweek, Frank Lampard’s side re-established a four-point gap on Burnley in the final relegation position ahead of the weekend’s remaining games as United suffered another blow to their flickering hopes of a top-four finish.
— Everton (@Everton) April 9, 2022
All five of Lampard’s victories have come on home soil, and it is here at his famous old ground – at its most visceral, obstructive and unwelcoming on Saturday – where Everton’s best hope of staving off a first relegation in 71 years reside.
Lampard’s future had been brought into question following Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat at Burnley having lost eight of his opening 12 games in all competitions since he replaced Rafael Benitez at the end of January, when the club were 16th and four points above the relegation zone.
The former Chelsea midfielder said he “knows the rules” regarding the short shelf life of a manager not picking up results and he was indebted to Pickford in the opening 12 minutes as Marcus Rashford twice forced the England goalkeeper into fine saves to his left.