Having never scored against Italian opponents in Europe, Everton face an uphill task at home to Fiorentina tonight if they are to reach the Uefa Cup quarter-finals. David Moyes' side trail 2-0 after last week's last-16 first leg in Florence.
The midfielder Tim Cahill said yesterday that Everton could still go through. "We need goals and we need goals early," the Australian said. "We're very confident for the fact that we've earned our right to be here and there's a lot of good footballers in this team and the squad is looking really strong."
Everton had seven straight wins in the competition before last week. "The Everton faithful always stand by the lads and the main thing is that we do want to succeed because we want to see this club do very well," Cahill said.
Moyes agreed, and also criticised the treatment of Everton's fans in Italy last week. "In the main they have been treated very well but I was disappointed at what happened in Italy," he said. "They tend to put away supporters in a pen in the corner. It is hardly worth paying money if that is what you get. Maybe that is why there are so many empty stadiums in Italy. I thought our fans were treated quite shabbily and hopefully we can give them something to shout about."
Prior to this season, Everton had played four games against Italian opposition in Europe. They drew 0-0 at home and lost 1-0 away to Internazionale in the European Cup preliminary round in 1963 and recorded the same scores against Milan in the Uefa Cup first round in 1975. With last week's result, they have two draws at home and three defeats, all in Italy.
Lee Carsley is available after being suspended for last weekend's win over Sunderland but a likely attacking line-up, probably featuring two strikers, means competition for midfield places will be intense.
Everton (possible 4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott; Arteta, Neville, Cahill, Pienaar; Johnson, Yakubu.
Fiorentina (possible 4-4-2): Frey; Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Dainelli, Pasqual; Kuzmanovic, Donadel, Montolivo, Jorgensen; Vieri, Osvaldo.
Referee: E Braamhaar (Netherlands).