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Troy Deeney: Everton boss Frank Lampard has to be highly motivated and highly confident and squad will follow in battle to beat drop
A CAPTAIN can be the real difference-maker in a dressing room that is fighting relegation.
He will float around the group, making sure things are ticking over and morale is high – and that is exactly what Seamus Coleman will be doing at Everton.
But, more importantly, it comes from the leadership and the persona of the manager, in this case Frank Lampard.
If the manager is confident and showing you ways in which he feels he can get the team through a situation, the rest of the squad will fall into line and back him.
A skipper has his role to play too, like I did at Watford, but ultimately he will react off the back of the manager.
Someone like Lampard is highly motivated and highly confident.
He will be spreading a clear message and it is down to the captain to then reinvigorate the dressing room.
That can be a difficult task, especially if the manager is losing the support of a squad because of results or methods.
But I don’t think there will be one Everton player who is thinking: ” We cannot get out of this”.
They will be positive that they are good enough to get themselves away from danger.
Positivity is not all it takes to beat the drop but to have a manager who is upbeat and inspiring is a massive contributing factor.
As a captain you can shout all you want to rev everyone up or to keep them from downing tools but, if the manager isn’t showing that belief, you have no chance.
It is very easy for things to boil over in a dressing room. It is high octane. Every little thing is scrutinised, especially when you are in a negative position.
Questionable things a player does off the pitch or in the dressing room when you are winning, people give you a pass for it.
But as soon as the results hit the fan, everyone goes for you. “Why is he not doing that?” it is high pressure.
And if it does boil over, like I have seen many times in dressing rooms before games or at half-time, you have to nip it in the bud quickly as a captain.
Yet it only starts to get toxic and nasty when the writing is on the wall, a bit like if Norwich lose this weekend.
That will be a nasty dressing room, I would imagine. The selfishness takes over. When you get to that stage, players look after themselves and that’s when you see their true colours.
Everyone will care about getting relegated, don’t get me wrong, but people care in different ways.
No one wants that blemish on their CV, but you get some bad eggs and they get nastier because they realise they are going down or they have already sorted out a move away.
It is a tough one.
For Everton right now, and I don’t like the cliche of taking each game as it comes, but I have been in that situation and that’s what you do – no matter how hard you try not to.
You are identifying games and doing the maths and thinking: “If we beat this team, and that team may lose”.
And then suddenly a team around you gets a freak result and you think: “God where did that come from?” and that is mentally deflating.
Players say they don’t look at the table but that’s b******s.
Everyone looks at it and thinks of all the scenarios and ways you can get out.
And Everton players will be doing that this weekend as they look to try to nick something against Chelsea while Burnley play Watford.
This week won’t be make or break for the Toffees but, if they can get a result against Chelsea and then win their next few, you would have to make them survival favourites.