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BARRY HORNE: Marouane Fellaini loss not the end of the world for Everton FC

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20 Feb 2010 03:00:00

I WAS unable to get to Goodison Park on Tuesday night but believe a good performance against Sporting Lisbon was marred by a sloppy final 10 minutes. Nevertheless, at 2-1 up, we are still in a good position in the Europa League tie. While the task to qualify for the last 16 is now less than straightforward, it is by no means impossible. A decent if ultimately disappointing game was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that Marouane Fellaini is out for the remainder of the season. Whilst this is obviously bad news, especially considering the player has been in his best form since arriving from Standard Liege 18 months ago, it's not all doom and gloom. This has been a season in which we have had to get used to positives amid lots of bad news. While Fellaini will be missed there is a bright side. More of the long term injury victims are now working towards full match sharpness, plus we shouldn't forget how well Jack Rodwell was playing prior to his injury. Although Tim Cahill could also be out for a few weeks after limping out of the Sporting game with a calf injury, his resurgence alongside the irrepressible Steven Pienaar has been a boost. The way they linked up for the opening goal hints at greater things to come, especially if Mikel Arteta can quickly reform his understanding with the Australian. Whoever is selected for today's clash with Manchester United won't need any motivating . Over the years we have had some close encounters with the Red Devils but in recent times we have often fallen short. In a spell where we've often taken points from all of the top teams except Liverpool, Man United will possibly provide our sternest test.


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