Everton FC News: ASSISTANT manager Steve Round believes Everton were cruelly denied victory at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors thought they had broken the deadlock 16 minutes from time when Phil Jagielka rose to head home Mikel Arteta’s corner.
However, the celebrations were curtailed when the assistant flagged for offside against Victor Anichebe and referee Howard Webb disallowed it. The controversial decision ended Everton’s hopes of Europa League qualification as the draw means they will finish eighth regardless of what happens at home to relegated Portsmouth next Sunday.
“We thought it was a perfectly good goal,” Round said.
“Victor was in an offside position but the corner was headed straight into the net and we can’t quite see why it was disallowed. I don’t think any keeper would have saved that header.
“The Stoke players couldn’t understand why it was disallowed either. We all thought initially that the ball had gone out of play from the corner and the linesman had given a goal-kick.
“Then we were getting reports it was for offside, which we couldn’t work out because the ball was headed straight into the net.
“Then we were told it was for interference, and we were wondering who was meant to be interfering with who. But that’s the decision and we have to live with that. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Round admits the fact there won’t be European football at Goodison Park next season is tough to take.
However, David Moyes’ number two believes the club’s strong finish to the campaign bodes well for the future.
“We are very disappointed as we wanted to win today to keep the pressure on,” he added.
“We were hoping to take control in the last 30 minutes but unfortunately we could not quite do it.
“It’s very disappointing to miss out on Europe. That’s what we crave but we’ve gone 10 games unbeaten and we’ve only lost twice since November. It’s been a terrific run and that gives us something to build on next season. If we keep everyone fit, get Marouane Fellaini back and with the emergence of Jack Rodwell and a few others it should be exciting.
“This was another decent point and Stoke probably deserved what they got.
“They missed a great chance early in the second half and were obviously out to prove their beating at Chelsea last week was a one-off.”
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was delighted with the response he got from his players following their 7-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge.
“On the whole, we’ve a fantastic group of players and a tremendous team spirit,” Pulis said.
“Saturday’s display proved that without any doubt.
“We’re in tremendous shape. We’re debt free, we own our own new training ground and are in a great position to keep moving forward.
“We have to do that slowly with small steps but we’re moving forward.”