THOMAS Hitzlsperger believes Everton’s defeat by Reading must act as a wake-up call if they are to recapture their momentum in the race for fourth place.
The former German international made his full debut at the Madjeski stadium as the Blues squandered a first half lead and a string of chances before the hosts hit back to record their first win of the season.
A furious David Moyes said afterwards he was as angry as he had been at his side, and Hitzlsperger, 30, knows they must show significant improvement as West Brom overtook them in fourth spot in the Premier League table.
Victory for West Ham over Stoke City tonight would see Everton slip back further to sixth, and even though there is plenty of the season remaining the midfielder hopes to help produce a reaction when Norwich come to Goodison on Saturday.
He said: “Maybe it was a bit of a wake-up call but we will see how we react against Norwich. We’ve got the quality and the character to bounce back but we’ve got to prove that. It’s disappointing and frustrating because it’s a game we should have won.
“We’ve had games before this season when we didn’t play well for 90 minutes but got the right result but we just didn’t finish the game off in the right manner.
“The first half we were in total control of the game and the gaffer told us at half time that we should have scored more goals. The chances we had we should have been more in front, and should have had a penalty with the hand ball. But nevertheless it was a completely different game in the second half, they took it at us and we were just defending and gave a lot of free kicks and corners away and that’s why we lost the game.”
After the visit of the Canaries at the weekend Everton face a daunting run of fixtures with Arsenal, Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea all in opposition next month.
Hitzlsperger’s display was one of the few highlights during a difficult afternoon on Berkshire, and he hopes to be able to help Everton progress before his short term deal is up for review in January.
“December is going to be tough in terms of the teams we’re coming up against and we’ve got to play well for 90 minutes in this league otherwise you’ll struggle. We found that out the hard way. We shouldn’t be looking ahead at Man City, Spurs or Chelsea it’s Norwich at home on Saturday and it’s a game we need to win.
“I was really pleased to start. I’ve been here a little over two months and it as nice to run out, but I wish we’d won the game. Personally it was good to be on the pitch and I’ve worked hard for it, but I want to play more now and raise my game as we all have to at times. I’m just delighted to be here.
“It’s different playing competitive games. The lads make it easy and they’ve always made me feel comfortable but it’s been a long time since I’ve played at that level and it may take me a few more games. There were a few good things about my game as well as a few bad points. I need to reduce the mistakes I made and see the positives. I had a chance to score a goal so hopefully I’ll put them away next time. The gaffer told me to see how it goes and when there’s a chance to go forward to do it.”