Everton centre-half Phil Jagielka praised teammate Steven Pienaar and believes he's now relocated the magic which he'd produced in the first-half of the season.

Midfielder Pienaar has been an annoying thorn in the side of many right-hand sides of the Premier League this season, and some of the link-up play with his shaggy haired left-back Leighton Baines has been majestic at times. However, his performances have noticably dipped in recent weeks at Goodison Park.

But Jagielka, talking to the Liverpool Echo, was quick to explain: “We rely so heavily on him and Bainsey (Leighton Baines), it’s the first place you look to when we don’t play well. It’s a bit unjust to single him out when he’s not had a great day on the ball.

“You can maybe count on the fingers on one hand how many bad games Steven’s had, or not being up to scratch for his standard. He doesn’t hide so sometimes that off-day can become worse because he keeps getting the ball but that shows the kind of character he is."

The South African swept home a beautifully crafted move for the Toffees on Saturday afternoon, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Fulham. The strike wouldn't have looked out of place in the Champions League, but the England centre back feels European football is still potentially on the cards for David Moyes' side.

Jagielka returned from injury on Saturday and helped to keep the Everton's defensive sheets nice and clean. 

He added: “If you look at the position we were in two weeks ago and where we are now, we’re delighted where we are.

“We’ve often spoken about how well we’ve done this season and there’s a bit of a job to go – the manager wants us to finish off the season on a high to potentially take a European spot or just to take some confidence over to next season."

Everton play an in-form Liverpool at Anfield this coming Sunday, which should create an entertaining contest after their 6-0 demolition of Newcastle at the weekend.

Topics:
#Premier League
#Phil Jagielka
#Everton
#Steven Pienaar
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