Everton manager Frank Lampard insists his priority is to fight for what is best for the club after landing a Football Association misconduct charge this week.
The charge relates to the former Chelsea’s midfielder’s comments about Stuart Atwell’s officiating of the Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield last month, which it is alleged constituted improper conduct as they implied bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee.
Lampard was unhappy his side did not get a penalty with the score at 0-0 when Anthony Gordon, who had already been booked for diving, went down under a challenge from Joel Matip.
In his post-match press conference, the Toffees boss suggested that had the incident happened to a Liverpool player the outcome would have been different.
“It’s an emotional game, isn’t it? My first job is to protect Everton Football Club for the players, for the club itself and for the fans,” said Lampard, who has until Monday to respond to the FA charge.
“I can’t talk about it. I’ve got to reply to the FA and at this point I can’t speak more about it.”
Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leicester, where relegation-threatened Everton will look to win their first league match away from home since August, Lampard played down any injury concerns over Richarlison.
“Yeah, Richy’s got a bit of a sore ankle from the one he twisted at Liverpool. That’s sort of been around since then, but hopefully will be fine,” said the Everton boss of a forward who has scored four in his last five outings.
Lampard will have midfielder Andre Gomes back in the squad but not on-loan Donny Van De Beek (groin).
Everton’s relegation fight could also be boosted by the return of defender Ben Godfrey, who was in danger of missing the end of the season with a thigh injury sustained in the home game against Leicester on April 20.
“Ben Godfrey is not fit but will hopefully be training with us in the middle of next week,” said Lampard.