STEVEN Pienaar believes Everton were unlucky not to be awarded a potentially match-winning penalty after he was fouled by former team-mate Mikel Arteta during their 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
The South African appeared to be hauled down in the penalty area by Arteta as he burst through on goal in the second half, but referee Michael Oliver waved away the home side's protests and David Moyes’ men ultimately had to be content with a sixth draw in their last eight games.
However after Saturday’s demoralising stalemate against Norwich, Pienaar insists the Blues proved they are up for the fight to finish in the top four with their response after going behind to Theo Walcott’s first minute goal last night.
Marouane Fellani pulled the Toffees level after fine work by Pienaar forced a mistake from Bacary Sagna, and the midfielder said: “When you concede so early it’s easy for your heads to go but to be honest the support was fantastic even though that happened. The fans kept us going and there were 89 minutes left so we knew we were still in the game. We gave it everything, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough although it was a good point against a really good team.
“(For the penalty claim) I felt a pull and I don’t think Mikel touched the ball. I think I kicked it out as he pulled me down.
“I wished him good luck for the rest of the season afterwards but it was a costly decision. I think we were on the front foot and we were really going for it. We didn’t sit back and created some really good chances. I had a couple of chances as well but I need to work on my finishing because I could have scored, but we had a few more chances than them.”
The former Bafana Bafana captain said the mood in the Goodison camp remains upbeat ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Etihad stadium, even though they dropped a place to sixth in the Premier League table last night.
“If you look at the last two games it was much better,” he said. “Against Reading we just gave it away and it was unprofessional the way we went about things, and Saturday was one of those games when we were not switched on at the end.
“That’s the best thing about football the games come quickly and you can always set t straight. We’re fortunate we’re in a job when if you make a mistake you can make up for it the next game and now we’ll look to go one better at City.”