Howard calls for response

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Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has urged his team-mates to "stand up and be counted" tonight if they are to avoid a double dose of cup misery.

After being dumped out of the Carling Cup at the first hurdle by Blackburn last Wednesday, nothing less than a win will do against Standard Liege if Everton are to reach the group stages of the UEFA Cup after the Toffees were held 2-2 at Goodison Park a fortnight ago.

"We have to put a lot of things right - we are under no illusions," said Howard. "We can't just snap our fingers and be out of it, but it's really important we now stand up and be counted."

He added: "We want to have as many games as we can this season. Nobody wants these real long weeks where all we are doing is training and there are no games to get excited by. It's so good for us when games keep coming quickly - you saw that last year."

Everton reached the last 16 of the UEFA Cup last season where they agonisingly lost on penalties to Fiorentina, as well as the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Chelsea.

Howard knows the cup runs aided the club with their league form as they finished a superb fifth. With Everton struggling in the top flight this season, Howard feels another lengthy run in the UEFA Cup could turn their season.

"It would be awful to be out of two competitions so early on in the season," added Howard. "There is no question that last season one of the things that kept us going was being involved in Europe.

"When we were in the Carling Cup as well, it helped with our league form, and that got better and better the more games we played.

"Everything just started snowballing for us - we'd play good midweek, then good at the weekend. Obviously we do not have the Carling Cup to look forward to now.

"But looking at things positively, all we have to do is beat Liege. It's that simple."

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