STEVEN Pienaar says Everton’s players sense they’re on the brink of a special season – but urged them not to get carried away with their high-flying early form.
The South African playmaker excelled during the Toffees 3-0 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, as David Moyes’ men surged up the Premier League table with a convincing display.
It mean the Blues have won three of their first five games with only a defeat at West Brom and last week’s frustrating draw against Newcastle going against them, and Pienaar believes the confidence in the Goodison camp could help them achieve European qualification.
He said: “The team spirit is very healthy. We all want to work for eachother and we sense that maybe this season something special will come. We need to keep on going and not get carried away.
“It’s a good feeling for the guys. We’ve been working
really hard and it’s important to get the points to make sure we break away from the other teams below us. But it’s only the fifth game so there’s still a long way to go.
“It hasn’t exceeded my expectations the manager asked for us to start the season well, and to be honest the way we ended the season no wonder we’ve carried on in the form we are in. We’re all happy and want to play.
“The guys are full of confidence and since I joined in pre-season I’ve really sensed it. It’s paying off at the moment and we just have to take it step by step every game and that’s important for us.”
Pienaar said he was flattered by Gary Neville’s comments last week, when the former England international turned respected TV pundit and Three Lions coach said facing Pienaar and Leighton Baines helped him decide to retire from playing.
“I never actually heard Neville say that but sure it’s a compliment,” said the 30-year-old. “I think Gary Neville had 22 years at the highest level and was a top player. It’s a compliment because he played for one of the best teams in the Premier League too.
“But for us it’s just important to go out and enjoy ourselves and make the most of every game. Sometimes when it’s not going well we still need to work even harder to make sure we can walk off happy.”
Moyes hinted on Friday that he may not always deploy Pienaar on the left flank this term, as he seeks to prevent his team’s set-up becoming predictable, but the Bafana Bafana skipper is unfazed where he plays.
“As long as you are full of confidence it doesn’t matter where you play,” he said. “For me I can play anywhere in the midfield so it’s up to the manager to formulate his game plan for certain opponents. If he asked me to do a job on the right or through the centre I’ll do it. The team is the most important thing.”
As one of the original founder members of the Football League, Everton are a club steeped in history and tradition and have played more seasons in the top flight of English football than any other club. Their association with the greatest cup competition in the world has thus conjured some wonderful moments, and this offering from Sport Media celebrates a century of memories since their first FA Cup success in 1906. Celebrate a century of memories with 'Everton's FA Cup 100'. Read