STEVEN PIENAAR has urged his Everton team-mates not to lose focus during the extra wait before their quest for a top four place resumes.
The Blues will have gone nine days without a game by the time they face Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary’s next Monday, in a televised clash against Nigel Adkin’s upwardly-mobile side.
And while the midfielder is grateful for the extra rest afforded to Everton’s small squad, he insists the prolonged period without match action cannot be allowed to harm their momentum.
He said: “Sometimes you need to refuel and hopefully we can do that now.
“But I hope it works in a positive way because sometimes when the game is so far away the guys can relax and forget about it and that could work against us. The break will be important but equally it’s important that doesn’t happen.”
Playmaker Pienaar was paid extra attention by Swansea’s defence-minded team during the 0-0 draw at Goodison on Saturday, as Michael Laudrup deployed two defenders on his right flank to try and neutralise the threat of Piennar and Leighton Baines.
And the South African believes that tactic is an inevitable result of the attacking threat he and Baines provide for the Toffees, and something they must now overcome.
“It just shows that we get respect from the opposition,” said the 30-year-old.
“Coming to Goodison they know they’re not going to get easy games. I must say they stuck to their task and it worked for them.
“It was difficult (against Swansea).
“They played well at the back but with the half chances we created we could have won the game.
“If we’d have scored one of those chances it could have been different.”