'Inspirational' spirit can take Everton to Champions League qualification insists Leighton Baines
Everton battled to a goalless draw at Arsenal last night
Wednesday 17 April 2013
Leighton Baines is glad teams do not like playing Everton - and he sees no reason why David Moyes' “inspirational” side should give up hope of gatecrashing the top four.
Everton battled to a goalless draw at Arsenal last night, when Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was left less than impressed by the visitors' resolute tackling.
Wenger claimed Everton midfielder Darron Gibson had been fortunate not to be sent off for twice pole-axing Theo Walcott in the first half, while Jack Wilshere and the visitors' Kevin Mirallas were involved in a spat as the players walked off at the break.
The Toffees remain in sixth place in the Barclays Premier League, but are just two points behind both Tottenham and Chelsea, albeit having played more matches.
Full-back Baines believes the performance at the Emirates Stadium shows Everton can last the distance in the battle to secure Champions League qualification.
"We have taken points off a lot of the teams who will finish in the Champions League positions. I don't think anyone will particularly enjoy playing against us at any level," the England left-back said.
"You look at it and how we have played away from home against a top team like Arsenal, then against the other top sides we have had good results at home.
"We have got a little bit of everything - the work-rate, togetherness and spirit is inspirational at times.
"Playing with this group of players I sometimes find I look around and I can't believe what some of them are doing.
"The effort they are putting in... people go above and beyond. They are playing with injuries and it really is inspirational at times just to see that - mix it in with our quality and we can't be a good team to face for any side."
Everton manager Moyes played down Wenger's complaints, maintaining his side had just set out to get a positive result in testing circumstances as Arsenal pressed in the second half.
Baines said: "We know they are a good passing team, but we did not speak about physically disrupting them in terms of getting stuck in.
"Whoever we play will know they are in for a physical game. The work-rate the players put in was there to be seen."
Everton had won four of their previous five Premier League games before last night.
Moyes takes his men to relegation battlers Sunderland this weekend, with the Merseyside derby at Anfield still to come in May.
The final match of the season comes at Chelsea, when Baines hope Everton could still have a shot at a top-four finish.
"We are talking about keeping in touching distance. We will just try to keep ourselves in the mix," he said.
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