Most British people relish a trip to sunny Portugal, but not poor old David Moyes. Having seen his Everton side trounced 5-0 earlier this season by Benfica, he watched the Toffeemen crumble to a 3-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon last night. It was hardly what he would have hoped for on the back of the club's recent victory against Manchester United, but on the balance on play it was a fair result, as he admitted.
Sporting progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League thanks to second-half goals from Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes and substitute Matias Fernandez. Everton, meanwhile, hardly had a shot on target.
Moyes said: "We never got started. Credit to Sporting, they were the better team and deserved to go through. We felt confident but maybe we made mistakes in the first game which let them in. They took their opportunities. I didn't see this result coming. We didn't play to the levels we have in recent weeks. They worked very hard and ran very hard all night.
"The idea was to go and get a goal. But we found it difficult. We knew the opening 20 minutes would be tough. But we never made anything happen."
Everton suffered another injury setback with centre-half Phillipe Senderos limping off in the second half. He was replaced by Phil Jagielka, making his first appearance since April. Moyes said: "We do not think it is too serious regarding Senderos but we are not sure. It was good to have Jagielka back and he will help us towards the end of the season."
Everton still have an outside chance of making the Europa League this season and Moyes seemed keen to do so despite this season's chastening experiences in Portgual. "We will do our best," he said. "It is a long shot at the moment, but will try to do that again."
Sporting Lisbon (4-4-2): Patricio; Abel, Carrico, Tonel, Grimi (Saleiro, 62); Izmailov (Fernandez, 89), Moutinho, Mendes, Veloso; Djalo, Liedson (Polga, 89_. Substitutes not used: Tiago (gk), Silva, Vukcevic, Pereirinha.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Senderos (Jagielka, 52), Baines; Osman, Arteta, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov (Rodwell, 61), Donovan (Yakubu, 73); Saha. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Gosling, Anichebe, Coleman.
Referee: A Yefet (Israel)