TONY HIBBERT believes Everton have nothing to fear from their tough end of season run-in despite losing their seven-game unbeaten run against Manchester United.
The Toffees sunk to a 1-0 defeat on Saturday courtesy of Javier Hernandez’s 84th-minute header, but Hibbert insists the setback will not affect his side’s determination to overhaul city rivals Liverpool in sixth place.
The Reds’ 5-0 win over Birmingham pushed the gap between them and Everton to five points, but Hibbert says David Moyes’ men are up to the task of finishing their disjointed campaign on a high, despite facing a Wigan side fighting for their Premier League lives next weekend, and games with Manchester City and Chelsea.
He said: “I don’t think we have any fear. We look forward to every game in the Premier League and yes, we’re playing teams that are challenging or trying to survive so there’s that jagged edge.
“But we need to finish the season strongly. We need wins and we need to keep our hopes of Europe alive as well as chasing Liverpool. It would mean a lot to me and the squad to get above them. We’re in touching distance, we’re over our bad start.”
Hibbert was disappointed Everton’s resilient defensive display at Old Trafford was not rewarded with a point, but he insists the Blues had arrived with every intention of attacking and taking all three points.
He said: “The run we’ve been on we were actually all confident coming here thinking we would have a good shot at it, but I suppose it’s always going to be hard at a place like this.
“It’s hard to get big decisions at Old Trafford. The fans they have here and their stadium – no matter what you do it’s always a hard game playing Man United here.
“We don’t want to concede in any game we play. We set our stall out knowing that if we don’t concede we’ve got a chance of winning any game.
“But coming here it wasn’t that we were going to defend for our lives, we came here to win. It might have looked like we had to have 10 men back, we actually had a game plan to win. As it pans out it looked like we were defending all the time, but we wanted the points.”
Hibbert said he wishes the season could last longer, after he forced his way back into Moyes’ side and has enjoyed the recent upsurge in form, but the defender is already thinking about next season and the opportunity to end the club’s 16-year wait for a trophy.
He said: “Whatever cup it is we need one next season. Everton needs silverware – the sooner the better. Europe is a great achievement for any club, and it’s a great experience for the fans to get away to talk about and sing about. I think the squad is big enough for Europe. We’ve got some good players in depth.
“We’ve got a lot of injuries again which doesn’t help but there is quality there. I think the squad we’ve got is capable of challenging in the domestic cups and Europe.”