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Lampard still on brink of sack as Everton suffer worst luck losing Man Utd tie

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    Luckless Frank Lampard must be thinking the footballing Gods are totally against him with his fate almost sealed at Everton.

    The travelling Toffees supporters were left gutted once again as they watched their team crash out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Friday night. Many would have made the trip without a shred of real hope, especially after seeing Manchester United's star-studded starting XI.

    But to be fair to under-fire Lampard and his Everton players, they dug in and deserved something – at least a replay perhaps – for their efforts. However, a serious-looking ankle injury to Alex Iwobi summed up the situation at Goodison Park and is just the newest problem for Lampard and his staff.

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    Lampard had called on his Everton flops to show some "big balls" in the face of a growing crisis.

    But all he got was a balls up instead as Conor Coady's own goal helped gift United a place in the FA Cup fourth round to pile even more pressure on the beleaguered Everton boss.

    And no-one was more relieved than United goalkeeper David De Gea, whose own blunder before the break had threatened to hand Everton a lifeline in this thumping third round clash at Old Trafford. Antony had given United the perfect start when he fired them ahead with his first goal since October.

    How long should Everton give Frank Lampard before they wield the axe? Let us know in the comments section.

    But De Gea's howler, on the night he moved into the top 10 of United's all-time appearance makers, allowed Coady to level things with just his second ever goal for his hometown club.

    Only for Coady to return the favour with his second of the night but at the wrong end, before a stoppage time penalty from Marcus Rashford helped United make it seven straight wins in all competitions. Erik Ten Hag wasn't messing about and showed how desperate he was to get his hands on some silverware when he named his strongest possible United side.

    Lampard, meanwhile, arrived at Old Trafford under huge pressure following a desperate run of results. Just one win in 11 games, including eight defeats, had left Lampard clinging to his job and he could ill-afford another thumping here.

    Lampard lifted the famous trophy four times as a player and had never lost to United in the competition.

    He got the better of them three times on the pitch and also knocked them out of the semi finals when Chelsea boss in 2020. How he needed to keep this record going to give him some respite from the onslaught he'd been facing.

    But his side took less than three minutes to go behind and leave Lampard shaking his head in despair on the touchline. That's how long it took United to rip through the Everton defence when Marcus Rashford left Ben Godfrey for dead before picking out Antony, who slid in at the back post to add the finishing touch to a fine move.

    It was Lampard's worst nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams and he was about to learn something about the character of his stars. But moments later Anthony Martial came within a whisker of making it 2-0 following more shambolic defending from the visitors.

    United were queuing up to take pot shots at Jordan Pickford's goal, with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen firing in efforts. But out of the blue Everton equalised on 13 minutes thanks to a helping hand of horrendous proportions from De Gea.

    There seemed no danger when Neal Maupay chipped in a harmless cross, but De Gea got in an awful tangle as he tried to claim the ball, allowing Coady the simplest of tap ins. United should have regained the lead, but Pickford denied Martial with a stunning save as the game turned into a blood and thunder tie.

    Rashford tried his luck before Eriksen went close with a sublime strike. Then came Coady's mistake on 52 minutes, turning Rashford's cross past Pickford to gift United the lead again.

    It was one United wouldn't surrender a second time – despite substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin seeing an equaliser ruled out by VAR for a tight offside before Rashford killed them off from the penalty spot at the other end. Which summed up Lampard's luck right now.

    Former United captain Roy Keane, speaking on ITV, said: "Frank Lampard will have been encouraged by the performance tonight. They've got to take that tenacity and character into the next game though. They showed it against Manchester City, and when you're expecting to beaten and sit in and take something. They have to go on and win some football matches now. They've got to get positive results on the pressure will keep building.

    "Sometimes it is easier away from away, especially with the protests against the board. The players have to show some character and bravery at home. Courage is not about hitting people all the time, it is about wanting the ball when you don't want it.

    "It is OK coming to Old Trafford and getting some plaudits in defeat, it is about what you do at home. They have shown enough tonight. to say listen 'there are worse teams than us in the Premier League'. They have to play five at the back."

    Up next for the 18th-placed Toffees and Lampard, if he's still in charge, are two absolute six-pointers.

    Bottom side Southampton visit Goodison Park next Saturday before Lampard return to old club West Ham the following weekend.

    MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): De Gea 5; Dalot 7, Varane 7, Shaw 8, Malacia 6 (Martinez 77); Eriksen 7 (Maguire 83), Casemiro 7 (Fred 71); Antony 6 (McTominay 83), Fernandes 6, RASHFORD 9; Martial 7 (Garnacho 71).

    EVERTON (3-5-2): PICKFORD 8; Godfrey 6, Coady 7, Tarkowski 6; Coleman 6 (Gordon 81), Iwobi 7 (Doucoure 50, 6), Gueye 6, Onana 7, Mykolenko 6 (McNeil 81); Maupay 7 (Calvert-Lewin 69, 7), Gray 7.

    Referee: Darren England 7

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    • Frank Lampard
    • Everton FC
    • FA Cup
    • Premier League
    • Manchester United FC
    • David de Gea

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