Knockout clash extra burden for Neville

THE Carling Cup appears something of an unwelcome distraction to Everton, visitors to Hillsborough tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 7:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 10:06 am

Everton skipper Phil Neville believes his side's priority is to meet the challenge of playing in the UEFA Cup on Thursday evenings and in the Premier League on Sundays.

He said: "We need to get back on track very quickly at the moment. That's what playing in Europe can sometimes do to you.

"But we need to show a bit of fighting quality now and spirit, that we've got in abundance, and make sure we get back on track in the league.

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"Playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday-Sunday is something definitely we all want. There is no point moaning about it, which we are not doing to be fair.

"Ever since I came to Everton I wanted to play Sunday-Thursday-Sunday-Thursday and, now we are in the situation, let's get on with it, let's enjoy it and let's not be fearful of the challenge.

"Middlesbrough have suffered from it in the past when they were getting beaten in the league after playing UEFA Cup games. It is something we needed to handle.

"People talk about tiredness - but tiredness is in the mind. Sometimes you can use it as an excuse. We had two days rest after Thursday's game and on Sunday we were fresh."

Everton were beaten 2-0 at Villa last Sunday.

Neville admitted: "Maybe we are just lacking a little bit of cutting edge at the moment and we need to start creating chances for our forwards.

"There are a few players in the team, myself included, who need to play better basically. Over the next few weeks, sooner rather than later, we need to do it."

Reading manager Steve Coppell has indicated he could try to bring midfielder Steve Sidwell back to the club on loan when the transfer window reopens in January.

Jose Mourinho took the 24-year-old to Chelsea in the summer on a free transfer, but the Portuguese has now been replaced by Avram Grant and Sidwell was not in the 16-man squad at Manchester United on Sunday.

Coppell said: "I would fully anticipate that we will supplement the squad in January.

"I want good players and Siddy is a good player."

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