Billy urges league focus
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has warned Everton not to let their FA Cup run hinder their league hopes.
Last Updated: 23/02/11 3:26pm
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has warned Everton not to let their FA Cup run hinder their hopes of securing a top-half Premier League finish.
The Toffees knocked out holders Chelsea last Saturday to book a fifth-round tie against Championship side Reading and raise hopes of returning to Wembley having lost to Chelsea in the 2009 final.
Everton's league position is less encouraging, however, as they sit in 14th place, three points away from both the top half and the relegation zone.
Bilyaletdinov knows failure to get a positive result at home to Sunderland on Saturday could see David Moyes' men slip closer to the bottom three, so the Russian midfielder has urged his team-mates not to lose sight of their league aim.
"The cup run is now a very important part of our season," he told the club's official website.
"It gives us a chance to get to Wembley and we would like to do that but it is important we don't forget about the Premier League.
"We need two runs - one in the league and one in the cup - and we know Sunderland is a big game for us."
Bilyaletdinov joined Everton three months after the 2009 final, when Louis Saha's quickfire opener was overturned by goals in each half from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
But the 25-year-old is determined to help the Toffees get back to Wembley and would relish the opportunity to play at the home of English football.
"I did not see the game but have the DVD at home," he said. "Saha scored a great goal and you see the emotion in that moment. He is lucky to have scored at Wembley.
"It is a great competition. It is the second tournament in England and if you win this cup it makes history and everyone wants to win it. It is important but is second to the league and we must do well this weekend."