Everton manager Frank Lampard may regret criticising his struggling squad and questioning their courage, says Premier League-winning striker Chris Sutton.
Lampard questioned whether his players have the right mentality after they were beaten 4-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
“He has to take responsibility, he’s the manager” Sutton said.
Everton are one place above the Premier League relegation zone.
“The team are in an absolute mess but his language was extremely strong, questioning the side’s courage,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He talked about [how] he doesn’t have a magic wand to get inside people’s heads and change resilience across the whole squad. Well.. is that not his job?
“Lampard was chucking things out there and I wonder whether he will regret some of the things he’s said because it can be damaging within the dressing room.
“It’s not a good dressing room at this time but when you start questioning player’s courage, I think there may be a problem.
“He’s come out and slaughtered his players and yet he needs these players to keep him up, so what he said is very, very dangerous in my book. It’s a big gamble what he said and let’s see whether the players react.
“He had a difficult job to take on, most of the blame lies with [previous manager Rafa] Benitez on this one, but he hasn’t made the impact which I think he expected to – and the Everton fans expected him to.”
Everton have picked up only four wins in their past 12 games in all competitions, but they won their last Premier League match at home to Newcastle. After the match, Lampard said he broke his hand celebrating on the touchline.
After defeat by Palace on Sunday Lampard criticised his players, saying: “There is only so much you can keep trying to butter someone up to give them confidence.”
But Sutton added: “I just wonder with Frank, and wondered at the time he took the job, I thought he was brave. Everton is a big club, but the club were in a real mess. This was always going to be a difficult task for him.
“His words at the weekend worried me a little bit, and they worried me because I actually thought for the first he may be doubting himself in maybe taking the job.
“My worry for Frank is if things don’t work out here, where does he go from Everton? He’s an intelligent man, but the way he’s talking I think there’s massive frustration.”