Frank Lampard has questioned whether his players have the right mentality to play for Everton after they were heavily beaten by Crystal Palace in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Everton sit one place above the Premier League relegation zone and have picked up only four wins in their last 12 games in all competitions.
Despite a bright start at Selhurst Park, they conceded two goals either side of half-time as Palace won 4-0 on Sunday.
“There is only so much you can keep trying to butter someone up to give them confidence,” manager Lampard said.
“We are playing at the cut-throat end of football here. This is a cup quarter-final to get to Wembley and if you haven’t got the confidence to play, you can quickly flip it and say have you got the bollocks to play?
“Sorry, excuse me, but that is the football reality. If you fall somewhere in the middle then don’t worry about it.”
First-half goals from Marc Guehi and Jean-Philippe Mateta put Palace in full control, before Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes secured the win.
“We didn’t play that badly today and Palace didn’t play that well and we lost 4-0 because of a lack of confidence and a lack of what I just said,” Lampard added.
“It wasn’t tactics. Tactics showed in the first 20 minutes Palace couldn’t get out of their half.”
Everton last reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 2015-16 and have not won a major trophy since their victory in the final in 1995.
“Maybe it is not Everton’s time, or my time as Everton manager to be there. It is Palace’s time. The job is to stay up and that is the reality of it,” Lampard said.