Europa League humiliation against Benfica will fire Everton up against Sporting Lisbon

25 February 2010 05:00
Everton's defeat in Benfica 300

AS Phil Neville and his Everton team-mates woke up in the Portugese capital today they were in unpleasantly familiar surroundings.

Everton may well be staying in Lisbon's finest five-star hotel, but it still conjures all the wrong type of memories as the same place they trudged into and pulled the bed covers over their heads after that 5-0 demolition by Benfica last October.

The skipper was unable to play in that Europa League group stage tie, but along with Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka he made the journey with the team and could only watch and wince.

There were hugely mitigating circumstances behind the nature of Everton's defeat to Sporting's neighbours Benfica. But Neville is still determined that this time, the club leave its mark on Portugal by victory and progression into the last 16 of the competition.

He said: "We all remember that night. We are staying in the same hotel so there will be memories.

"We played well in the first half and at half-time we were still in the game. But then, bang, we lose a bit of concentration and we are 5-0 down.

"It looked a bit of a mauling and it was a valuable lesson of what can happen in Europe when you switch off.

"When you think that everything is OK, that's when you get kicked in the privates!

'Myself, Jags and Areteta all travelled out to watch the game against Benfica here.

'Their experience and quality was better than ours, and we knew that before the game but I think Lisbon and Portugal didn't see the best of Everton that time.

'This time they can see a more solid side with quality.

Source: Liverpool_Echo