Everton 3 Reading 1 match report: Steven Pienaar keeps all routes into Europe open for Everton

 

Midfielder Steven Pienaar, scorer of Everton's stunning second goal in the 3-1 victory over Reading on Saturday, admits the club may need to use the "back door" to secure European football at Goodison Park for next season.

Click here to watch the highlights of the game

Everton's hopes of claiming a Champions League place took a knock last month but they still have an outside chance of finishing fourth.

Even if they do not make it into the elite competition, they should be strong contenders to bring continental football back to the club via the Europa League, through league position or the FA Cup, in which they face Wigan on Saturday in the sixth round. Everton have not played in Europe since the 2009-10 season.

"Sometimes you have to go through the back door, so there is a little less pressure on us now," Pienaar said. "We will see how the other teams do and, hopefully, we can sneak in.

"I think it is fairly good to play in European competitions. After the Premier League there are only two bigger cups – the Europa League and the Champions League. All the players want to play in it and it is important for the club to get European football.

"We will just see. The Cup is the shortest route to European football. Next week [in the FA Cup] we are also at Goodison so, hopefully, this can be the place that gives us the passport to European football."

Reading's manager, Brian McDermott, remains positive and sees last season's late charge to promotion as a good omen in the club's relegation battle this time. "I just hope our fans can stick with us because we might do it, you just never know," he said. "Last season we were written off pretty early. We've been written off before and we'll probably be written off again."

Goals: Everton Fellaini 42, Pienaar 59, Mirallas 66. Reading Robson-Kanu 84. Substitutions: Everton Heitinga 6 (Jagielka, 5), Anichebe (Osman, 75), Hitzlsperger (Pienaar, 82). Reading Robson-Kanu 7 (Kebe, 19), Blackman (Hunt, 75).

Bookings: Everton Coleman. Reading Le Fondre. Man of the match Fellaini. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Everton 60%. Reading 40%.

Attempts on target: Everton 11. Reading 5. Referee A Taylor (Greater Manchester).

Attendance 35,244.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas