PHIL JAGIELKA insists Everton’s overall performance levels mean there is no need for panic at Goodison Park, despite being frustrated by recent dropped points.
The Blues have been left disappointed as their impressive early-season form has stalled somewhat of late. They were booed off by a minority of supporters at Goodison Park on Saturday, having conceded a last-minute equaliser to Norwich City in a game they could and should have won.
It is becoming a recurring theme for David Moyes’ side. The Norwich stalemate was the third time in four games that Everton have failed to win a game they had dominated. They remain fifth in the Premier League table, but have now won just three of their last 11 league fixtures.
“We’ve shot ourselves in the foot a bit in the last few games,” admits Jagielka. “We’ve not kicked on when we’ve started games well.
“Against Reading in the first half we played as well as we have done all season. I had a couple of chances myself, the strikers had a couple of chances and so did the midfielders. But we never took them, and we came out at the start of the second half a bit sloppy, and before you know it we were 2-1 down.
“With the couple of injuries that we’ve got, the squad isn’t looking quite as strong as it was at the beginning of the season, and maybe that doesn’t help.
“But we’re normally talking about not having many points at this stage of the season. We usually play for two-thirds of the season and forget the other one. So we can’t get hung up on results.
“We should have done better (in recent games), but there’s plenty left in the season and we’ve still got a decent platform to build on.
“If we were playing hopeless football, and not getting anywhere near the goal, not making their goalkeeper make saves, then there would be bigger issues to deal with.
“But as it is, we are either coming up against some fantastic defending or some fantastic goalkeeping.
“That’s the way the season goes.
“The Premier League is not an easy league to predict, but hopefully we can carry on the form we have started the season with.”
On a personal level, Jagielka has assumed extra responsibility over the past few weeks. With Blues captain Phil Neville ruled out until Christmas following knee surgery, the England defender has taken over the armband in his absence.
“It is always a really proud moment,” he said. “You hear the beginning bits of Z-cars and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and the goose pimples come.
“I was vice-captain at Sheffield United for a couple of years, but I was younger then and didn’t really understand what the job meant.
“But watching Nev and the way he is as a captain, it means that when he’s not there I have to step up to the plate and do a bit more talking.
“If anyone needs anything around the club, and they are not sure about how to go about it, then obviously it’s a role that I need to step up to. Phil is out for a few weeks now, so provided I stay fit and injury free and my form is good then it will be up to me.
“It is something I really enjoy doing and hopefully we can get a few wins while I’m captain.”