Pienaar - AEK clash crucial
Steven Pienaar is looking to use Everton's clash with AEK Athens as a springboard for their season.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 30/11/09 4:27pm
Steven Pienaar is looking to use Everton's Europa League clash with AEK Athens as a springboard for their season.
Following the 2-0 reverse to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Sunday, the Toffees find themselves 16th in the Premier League, three points off the relegation places and with only one win in their last 11 games in all competitions.
David Moyes takes his side to Athens on Wednesday knowing three points could seal their qualification to the knockout stages of the competition and give the team a much-needed lift.
Pienaar, who made only his second start in 12 games against Liverpool due to a knee injury, believes a good result in midweek can set them up nicely for the visit of Tottenham next Sunday.
"We now have a Europa League game in Athens, and we go into that after another defeat, which is not the best preparation," he said.
"But what is in our favour is that we know that we played well, and we have an opportunity to get ourselves back on track quickly if we can achieve the result we want in Athens.
Make things right
"We go into Europe determined to make things right. If we get a victory in Athens it will be a real morale boost for the team ahead of next weekend's game with Spurs."
The 27-year-old felt the side performed well against Liverpool despite the defeat and if it was not for Reds keeper Pepe Reina could have come away with at least a point.
"I know our fans must have left Goodison on Sunday feeling very disappointed with losing to Liverpool, but they will hopefully have had a smile too because of the performance and effort that we managed," he added.
"Now we must take that level of performance into Europe and then the next league match because we have been dragged into the relegation fight.
"Obviously we are disappointed to lose a derby game, they are so important to us and the fans.
"The turning point was probably those two saves from Pepe Reina in the second half. He is a world-class keeper and he has kept his team in the game.
"If either had gone in it would have been a different game. We were on the front foot, and we would have gone on to win the match."