Dampener: Jagielka says Everton must be realistic
Phil Jagielka insisted thattalk of Everton reachingEurope is far-fetched afterthey blew a two-goal leadagainst fellow top-sevenhopefuls Birmingham.
Jagielka's return frominjury was eagerlyanticipated but it has comeat the end of Everton'seye-catching run.
Manchester United andChelsea had been defeatedback-to-back by Evertonbefore Jagielka's leaguereturn against Tottenham afortnight ago.
Everton lost3-1 at White Hart Lane andlet themselves down againon Saturday.
Jagielka couldnot prevent the ball fromgoing through his legswhen Cameron Jeromescored Birmingham's first.
'Maybe, realistically, wewere never going to bepushing for the Europeanplaces,' said Jagielka.
'Theboys had some fantasticresults which catapulted usback up the league and putthose sorts of ideas back inpeople's heads.'
Yet much of Everton'smidfield build-up play wasswift and subtle, with Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaarcausing problems.Everton were 2-0 up within22 minutes.
Tussle: Cameron Jerome put Birmingham on the road to recovery
Victor Anichebeturned cleverly to evadeLiam Ridgewell and struckpowerfully beyondotherwise impressive JoeHart. Arteta suppliedPienaar, three minuteslater, and the SouthAfrican's lobbed passallowed Yakubu to head inEverton's second.
MATCH STATS BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Hart 7;Carr 6, Johnson 6, Dann 6, Ridgewell 5;Gardner 7 (Larsson 58min, 6),Ferguson 8, Bowyer 6, Fahey 7;Jerome 7, Benitez 6 (McFadden 72, 6).Booked: Bowyer.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard 6; Neville 7,Jagielka 5, Distin 6, Baines 7; Cahill 7(Rodwell 75), Heitinga 6, Arteta 8,Pienaar 8; Anichebe 7 (Gosling 79),Yakubu 7 (Donovan 67, 6).
Booked: Yakubu.Man of the match: Mikel Arteta.Referee: Lee Probert.
But Keith Fahey's cross wastouched in by Jerome tostart Birmingham'sfightback in the 26thminute. AndJerome wasinvolved again,flicking on along kick byHart, to allow Craig Gardner to make it 2-2 in the 52ndminute.
It was not the defensiveeffort desired by Evertonmanager David Moyes, whoagain left out Joseph Yobo.Jack Rodwell and DanGosling, who both came onas substitutes, have beenlinked with ManchesterUnited.
But Moyes claims hissquad is too small to befurther depleted in thesummer.
He took thepositives out of this setback,saying: 'The way we areplaying at the moment is asgood as anybody else.'
But Jagielka admitted: 'It isa missed opportunity. Weneeded to lay down amarker and hope resultswould go our way.'
Birmingham's tough run-inmeans a Europa Leaguespot is probably beyondthem too.
Birmingham 2 Everton 2: Craig Gardner on hand to save Alex McLeish's record David Moyes fighting to the end to keep Landon Donovan at Everton EXCLUSIVE: How Everton's Leighton Baines earned his seat at the top table