Everton FC skipper Phil Neville wants a Europe return

27 February 2010 07:00
Phil Neville celebrates at Wembley 460[LNB]EVERTON may be sick of the sight of Lisbon, but there was no quick getaway for them on Thursday night.[LNB]An overnight stay in the Portuguese capital before flying straight into London yesterday ensured there was plenty of time to stew on their miserable exit from the Europa League.[LNB]Tottenham's players may have been hampered by a virus this week, but Everton's must feel like they have been hit with a sledgehammer.[LNB]How could a side which had stunned Premier League title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks perform so abjectly against a Sporting side in the midst of a crisis and desperately short of confidence?[LNB]Wasteful in possession, vulnerable at the back and toothless going forward, it was a world away from the performance the Blues served up against United at Goodison five days earlier.[LNB]Caution and negativity replaced adventure and attacking verve. With the tie on a knife edge it was a risky game plan and, in the end, they got exactly what they deserved.[LNB]'We were not positive enough,' admitted Mikel Arteta.[LNB]'We should have gone at them more. We tried to defend too deep and we never got a grip on the game.'[LNB]Amidst the wreckage, Phil Neville has urged his team-mates to look forward, rather than back. The time for inquests has been and gone.[LNB]The skipper knows all that pain and frustration must now be channeled into trying to ensure European football is on the agenda for the Blues once again next season.[LNB]Of course it's a tough ask. Eighth-placed Everton have 12 league games remaining to close the gap on Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa, who are all currently fighting it out for fourth spot.

Source: Liverpool_Echo