Everton 1 Stoke City 0 match report: Everton will chase right to the end, says Jagielka
Sunday 31 March 2013
Defender Phil Jagielka is confident Everton can push their rivals for a Champions League place right up until the final day of the season.
Saturday's 1-0 victory over Stoke courtesy of Kevin Mirallas's 70-yard run and finish built on the win over defending Premier League champions Manchester City before the international break.
Since their dismal FA Cup quarter-final exit at home to Wigan the response has been typical of Everton, bouncing back with a maximum six points.
That has reignited their top four challenge, now only four points adrift, and even though fifth-placed Arsenal and fourth-placed Chelsea have bigger squads and have spent more money, Jagielka, 30, insists Everton can still match them.
"We'd like to think we can prolong the chase as long as possible," said the centre-back, returning after missing three matches with a gashed ankle.
"If we're going into the final game of the season still in with a chance of Champions League football then we have to look at that as a fantastic season. Unfortunately for us, it is a season when five or six teams at the top rather than two or three are performing well. It seems like Spurs have played well again and won, Arsenal have [won], so everyone seems to be desperate for that fourth spot and we're desperate to be in there as long as possible.
"We are, as far as spending is concerned, a little bit below the other teams but I am sure they won't look forward to playing us as much as we are looking forward to playing them."
Goal: Everton Mirallas 28. Substitutions: Everton Barkley (Mirallas, 80). Stoke City Jones (Crouch, 79), Adam (Cameron, 79). Booked: Everton Barkley. Stoke City Whelan, Shawcross, Shotton. Man of the match Mirallas. Match rating 5/10. Possession: Everton 55%. Stoke City 45%. Attempts on target: Everton 9. Stoke City 5. Referee M Jones (Cheshire). Attendance 33,977.
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