Pienaar clamours for Europa League

Steven Pienaar admits Everton may need to use the "back door" to secure European football for next season.

Last Updated: 03/03/13 at 13:33 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Europa League. Click here to bet.

Steven Pienaar: Hoping to sneak into the Europa League next season

Steven Pienaar: Hoping to sneak into the Europa League next season

Midfielder Steven Pienaar admits Everton may need to use the "back door" to secure European football for next season as the battle for places hots up.

The Toffees' hopes of claiming a place in the Champions League took a knock in February but they still have an outside chance of reaching fourth spot in the Barclays Premier League.

Even if they do not make it into the elite competition, they should be strong contenders to bring continental football back to Goodison Park via the Europa League, through league position or the FA Cup.

Everton, sixth, boosted their league prospects with a 3-1 win over struggling Reading on Saturday and are now looking forward to a cup quarter-final against Wigan next weekend.

Pienaar, who scored a stunning second goal as the Royals were overcome at Goodison, said: "Sometimes you have to go through the back door, so there is a little less pressure on us now.

"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 we are also at Goodison so hopefully this can be the place that gives us the passport to European football."

Everton have not played in Europe since the 2009-10 season and Pienaar knows the fans would also enjoy the experience, even if the travelling might not particularly appeal to him.

He said: "I think it is important for the supporters as well - they enjoy going away. I'd rather stay at home with the family!"

Everton are amid a run of five consecutive home games, the third of which will be Wigan's visit.

Victory over the Latics would secure a return to Wembley, where Everton were beaten by neighbours Liverpool in last season's FA Cup semi-finals, but Pienaar is not thinking that far ahead yet.

The 30-year-old said: "We don't have to talk about it now. The most important thing is Wigan and it is not going to be an easy hurdle to go past.

"That is important and at the final whistle maybe we can talk about it."

Everton will at least go into the game in positive mood after the disappointment of last week's late capitulation at Norwich.

Pienaar said: "It does give us a lot of confidence but the FA Cup is going to be a totally different game.

"We all know it is not the same as the league. We are playing against good opposition, so it is going to be hard. With the 12th man behind us hopefully we can go all the way."

Everton were deserved victors over the Royals although the game was evenly contested until the influential Marouane Fellaini headed them ahead after 43 minutes.

Pienaar doubled the advantage with a long-range strike just before the hour and Kevin Mirallas made victory certain with a neat finish.

Reading, who hit the woodwork early on through Adam Le Fondre, battled on and Hal Robson-Kanu grabbed a consolation.

The only downside for Everton was the loss of England defender Phil Jagielka with a badly gashed ankle, which later required surgery, after a clumsy tackle from Le Fondre in the opening minutes.

Defeat left Reading in the bottom three although results elsewhere did not significantly worsen their position.

They now face relegation rivals Aston Villa in a critical game at the Madejski Stadium next week before tough away trips to Manchester United and Arsenal.

Manager Brian McDermott remains positive and sees last season's late charge to promotion as a good omen.

McDermott said: "I just hope our fans can stick with us because we might do it, you just never know.

"Last season we were written off pretty early. We've been written off before and we'll probably be written off again.

"We need a real vibrant atmosphere next week and we need to make sure we give the fans something early in the game, and they can really get behind the team.

"I thought we played some good football on the front foot at Everton, which is never easy.

"We are going to need our fans next week and we are hopeful we will get a good following and everyone sticks by us."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Bet with SkyBet  Europa League. Click here to bet.

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

bright and edgy
Sturridge: Right to leave City

O

h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

ajsr1982
Eye On The Experts: John Motson

M

an who resembles bond villain complains about spies ....brillliant

mrjackson
Palace deny spying accusation

Footer 365

Probert to referee FA Cup final

Lee Probert will referee the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull next month, the Football Association has announced.

Premier League: Liverpool upbeat on Daniel Sturridge's injury ahead of Norwich game

Liverpool are optimistic that striker Daniel Sturridge will be fit for this weekend's game against Norwich.

Premier League: Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner hails Paul Lambert in bullish statement

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has issued a bullish statement in reaction to the suspension of two of his coaches.

Mail Box

Fatigue No Excuse For Giroud Being Cr*p

We have a long mail on why Giroud isn't very good at all, plus some more thoughts on neutrality. Plus, who do you want out of you club this summer and Liverpool moving buses...

Will Liverpool Cope With Parked Buses?

That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property