Everton - very disappointing - 07/11/2002
It was certainly a good game for the neutrals and the Everton fans, but for the rest of us, it was hard to take. On a personal level, there was a lot riding on that game, and Iím very disappointed that things didnít go to plan.
The first goal, Kevin Campbellís was a mix up, and I hold my hand up, there were a few of them. Everton started the game very well, theyíve enjoyed some good results recently and their recent win at Elland Road meant they were playing with confidence. We had a few players who havenít played for quite a while Ė obviously you can include me in that group Ė picking up the pace took a bit of time. I struggled in the early stages of the game, but started to pick it up as the match went on. Iím not looking for excuses, but these days the defence is under so much scrutiny and with us all trying desperately hard to impress, it certainly wasnít the easiest of circumstances to play your natural game.
With Watto coming off the bench, it was good to face an old team mate Ė especially since we grew up together and played in the same defence a few years ago. Alessandro Pistone joined the club only three weeks after I left, so he effectively replaced me in the fight with Bez for the left back berth. It was also quite ironic that both should get on the score sheet, although itís fair to say that we preferred it when Pistoneís header went in!
As the tie went into extra-time I was really beginning to tire. As Iíve said, thereís less pace in reserve team football and I would have been tired if the game had lasted the usual 90 minutes. Today Iím absolutely shattered, itís only 4.15 in the afternoon and Iím having difficulty keeping my eyes open. I dare say itís the same for a lot of the team, particularly Carl Cort, Stevie Caldwell and with Hugo usually coming off the bench it was just as well his age was on his side. When youíre physically tired itís twice as difficult to concentrate and it becomes a real struggle.
I know Iím not in the team to face Arsenal, I donít like the situation but I can also understand the managers thinking. All I can say is that Iíll be doing my best to force my way back into the side. With the Champions League allowing seven substitutes I hope to make the bench for Feyenoord Ė after last nights result, weíre looking to set the record straight with two big game in the next five days.
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