The Blues’ 2-1 Boxing Day victory over Wigan Athletic at Goodison was their second successive win without the suspended Belgian international, an absence their manager had previously warned they may struggle to overcome. But Jagielka – who sealed three points for his side with a second-half header which was his first goal of the season – insists they have enough strength in depth to keep in the hunt for the top four. He said:
“Felli has been a massive player for us for the first part of the season, but we’ve done OK while he’s been suspended so far which really bodes well.
“The manager knows he has a couple of options he can try and they’ve worked in the last two games. Victor has come in and give us that presence up there, Naisy has done really well when he came on.
“Felli is a big talent and when we heard we were losing him for three games we knew it wouldn’t be ideal - but at this rate he might struggle to get back in!”
An 82nd minute strike by Wigan’s Arouna Kone ensured a nervy ending for the hosts, and meant Everton have now conceded in their last 14 Premier League games. But while their vice-captain accepts that is far from ideal, he believes their priority must be remaining a threat going forward.