Tim Howard not after revenge against Liverpool at Wembley
Thursday 12 April 2012
Goalkeeper Tim Howard insists Everton will not go out at Wembley looking to settle old scores against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.
The American said they were "taken to the woodshed" in their last meeting at Anfield thanks to Steven Gerrard's hat-trick.
Last month's 3-0 defeat was the Toffees' second to their near-neighbours this season already and their recent record against them is unimpressive to say the least with five wins in 34 meetings.
But Howard said revenge should never be the overriding factor going into any game, let alone one of such significance.
"We know it is going to be battle but I don't think we are going to cloud our judgement with results which happened two or three weeks ago," said the United States international.
"All that will do is cloud our thinking and we need to be ready for the game.
"The big games are all about management: you cannot go into it willy-nilly because it is too big an occasion.
"You have to manage your emotions and the crowd and also, because it is such a big occasion, I think certain players need to calm other players down.
"From a fairytale aspect there is an element of settling scores but it is about keeping a clear head.
"Sometimes when you are out for blood, out for revenge and trying to set something right you start to allow your judgement to be jaded.
"We need to be focused on Saturday. We cannot start worrying about who kicked who, or who scored what - we have to play the game the right way and afterwards, if we walk off victorious, it will be that much sweeter of course.
"But in the moment we have to be that more level-headed."
Despite everyone at Everton insisting Liverpool start as favourites the form book suggests otherwise.
They go into the game scoring goals on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, with just two defeats since January 11.
Liverpool, by comparison, have been in freefall in the league, with Tuesday's last-gasp winner at Blackburn - having been 2-0 up - only their second in the league in eight matches, which includes five defeats.
"I think it is very similar to a few weeks ago: a few people would have pegged us to go to Anfield and get a result and we got taken to the woodshed - it was a rough night," said Howard.
"I think we enjoy the underdogs tag, we always seem to play better that way.
"It is no secret, that is how people seem to view us and we seem to have success in that role.
"I don't think the players of either side care who is favourites because we are focused on the task in hand.
"If people say we are favourites and we know we are not we would do the same thing: roll our sleeves up, scrap and fight and think of nothing less."
Liverpool have already been to Wembley this season, winning the Carling Cup in February, and while Everton's 2009 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea was their only appearance in a final since 1995.
However, Howard does not think the Reds' recent excursion to the national stadium will have any bearing on Saturday's game.
"Both sets of players will be tense because of the big occasion but I think both sides have top players who have played in World Cups, cup finals, so hopefully once the nerves settle down it will be a good match," he said.
"It is important to have the experience (from 2009) because what people from the outside under-estimate is having the experience of what things smell and look like.
"When you walk out at Wembley for the first time it is daunting but having been there before and not having to marvel at the size of it and the enormity of the game helps and that comes from experience of 2009.
"I have played in a lot of big games, both teams have players who have played in big games, so you know how to manage it psychologically."
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