Everton defender Phil Jagielka believes his side have extra motivation heading into the Merseyside derby with Liverpool as they look to continue their good start to the season, but insists that they aren’t favourites for the game.
The Toffees are currently fourth in the Premier League after playing eight games this season, and have appeared to avoid the slow start that usually strikes them at the beginning of the campaign.
Jagielka is delighted with the club’s recent run of form and is determined to come out of the derby with the three points.
“I think it’s a strange one,” Jagielka told the club’s official website. “Normally we are desperate to beat them just because it’s Liverpool.
“But this time we would love to beat them, but we have to think about keeping ourselves up towards the top of the league.
“Normally we are playing catch-up [in the league] by now so it’s nice to be up there.
“We don’t look at it [in terms of favourites]. Derbies are a little bit different. We have a had a good start to the season so confidence should be high. We are all going to be up for it and hopefully we can get Goodison rocking.
“Obviously Steven Pienaar is a big player for us so seeing him get sent off was disappointing. But we have players who can come in. Hopefully we can get [Marouane Fellaini] back and possibly one or two others.”
The 29-year-old put in a good performance for David Moyes’ side in their 1-1 draw with QPR, with team-mate Tim Howard calling him an “animal”. He admitted that he is expecting to get busier with Everton’s attacking style of play set to continue.
Jagielka added: “I am not too sure if that was a compliment. I will have to ask him!
“It was one of those days, I thought Sylvain had a great game next to me. You throw yourself in there and sometimes the ball hits you and sometimes it doesn’t.
“We have conceded goals in games and with the expansive football we are playing we are having a little bit more to do. As long as we get a decent amount of points on the board, if we concede it is just one of those things.”