AEK coach wants revenge on Toffees

AEK Athens coach Dusan Bajevic has urged his players to defeat Everton to claim a place in the Europa League's last 32 at the Toffees' expense.

Last Updated: 01/12/09 at 17:44

AEK Athens: Taken apart at Goodison in September

AEK Athens: Taken apart at Goodison in September

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AEK put in one of their most disappointing displays of what has been a poor season when they lost 4-0 at Goodison Park in September and Wednesday's Group I showdown between the two sides in Athens could define the Yellows' season.

Despite a return to form at the weekend, when they moved up to fifth place thanks to a 1-0 home win over PAOK Salonica, AEK remain 12 points off the pace in the Super League and are out of the Greek Cup.

Therefore, the visit of Everton effectively represents a last chance for AEK to keep alive a season not yet at its halfway point.

A draw will guarantee AEK something to play for on matchday six but a loss would mark the end of their campaign, while Everton will qualify if they win and BATE Borisov fail to beat section leaders Benfica.

"We can't forget the first result against Everton and we have to show we are better than that," said Bajevic.

"If we manage to play at the level we know we can then I'm certain that we will take the win that we need."

Everton are currently struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table due to a combination of key players missing with injuries and a poor defensive record, but Bajevic does not believe that is a reason to take the Toffees lightly.

"The problems that Everton have at the moment are not strange to us as we are also having similar problems," added the Serbian.

"We know that it will be a tough game for both teams. Everton are a very good side who lately are not doing as well as they should and that explains their position in the league."

"They have quality throughout the whole team. The main element which we need to be wary of, though, is their height and pace. They have a lot of tall and quick players and we will need to account for this."

AEK are preparing for the visit of Everton amid a deepening financial crisis that has engulfed the club. Major shareholder Nikos Notias has embarked on a worldwide search for an investor who could pull the club out of its troubles.

AEK's imposing Sweden defender Daniel Majstorovic, who missed the defeat at Goodison due to injury, is back to shore up the Greek side's defence, and he insisted the players will be fully focused on the match.

"Of course this situation isn't easy for us but we need to be focused on playing," he said. "The game is very important for the team and we must stay concentrated.

"The finance situation isn't in our hands and we just need to focus on our specific role, which is in training and in the matches on the pitch."

Majstorovic scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over Benfica, and he expects just as tough a match.

"It will definitely be a difficult match, we are playing against a strong team from the Premier League," he said. "We need to show Everton from the first minute that we want to win this game."

AEK have minimal injury problems ahead of the contest, with their only absentees being defender Sanel Jahic and on-loan Liverpool forward Krisztian Nemeth, both of whom are nursing minor leg injuries.

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