In a pre-match Q&A ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham United (2.15pm BST), Amadou Onana discusses what it’s like to work under manager Frank Lampard, an area he wishes to improve, the heat of a Merseyside derby and being desperate to repay the love shown by Evertonians…
Amadou, you’ve been with us for a little more than a month now. How have you settled in so far?
It’s been very easy. Everyone at the Club has made sure I don’t need anything and my teammates in the locker room have been brilliant with me, helping me settle as quickly as possible. I’m loving it.
Has anything taken you by surprise in these first few weeks?
I’ve never had such a warm welcome! I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at the Club and the fans for making me feel that way.
What are your first impressions of the Premier League?
It’s a tough league. It’s different from what I’ve experienced in the past – the big difference is the pace because everything goes a bit faster here. I’m doing everything I can to adjust and adapt as fast as possible.
You started with a couple of appearances off the bench before starting each of the past four games. Has that gradual introduction helped you?
Of course. Game time is obviously the thing that helps the most and I think the introduction I got helped me settle in, finding my marks and my way into it. I’m happy with how it’s going.
You mentioned when you signed how excited you were to be working under Frank Lampard. What’s it been like?
It’s been great so far. The past couple of weeks have just confirmed what my thoughts were beforehand – he’s a great manager and a nice human being as well. He’s full of ambition and he has a clear idea of how he wants to play football, which fits very well for me. There have been only positives. Of course, he was a midfielder as well and while we’re different players, I know I’m learning from the best. I’m just glad that I can work with him on a daily basis.
What did you admire most about Frank Lampard as a player?
His finishing… If I could finish as good as he could, I’d be happy with that! It’s something we talk about. He thinks that with my physical attributes I can score more and be more decisive.
You got your first taste of the Merseyside derby last weekend. How did you find that?
It was amazing. I feel lucky that I had the chance to play in it. The atmosphere was just incredible, our support is amazing. If you have such an atmosphere, you simply have to perform. It was nice to be out there giving my everything for the Club. That’s what they want from us – and that’s what I want to give them.
And we heard your chant on several occasions. How does that feel?
I love it! I really love it. I’ve said this before and it’s still difficult to describe but this just feels like home. The welcome I’ve had, the love we have from the supporters – never letting us down… A big thanks to them. I think everyone here knows what it means to wear this shirt, this badge, playing for this club. It’s a big, big club, with a big history. I respect this badge so much that when I go out there I can’t do anything but give everything I have.
How’s the mood in camp at the moment?
I think not just in the Liverpool game but in the past few weeks we’ve shown how hard we’re working. Many players came in, including myself, and we’re gelling well together, but that fighting spirit is key for us. We’re still improving and we know there is a lot of work ahead, but we’re ready to do it and have to keep that spirit going.
West Ham at Goodison next up. How do you approach it?
The same way how we’ve approached our past few games – being ready to fight for each other and once we have the ball being ready to play because we have a lot of quality in this dressing room. We want to show that.