Everton captain Phil Â´FizzerÂ´ Neville heaped praise on the teamÂ´s defensive resilience after todayÂ´s 1-1 draw at Loftus Road against bottom of the table QPR.
QPR took an early lead after Junior HoilettÂ´s shot deflected off Leighton Baines and beat Howard, and after Julio Cesar knocked Sylvain DistinÂ´s header into his own net the game looked to be anyones.
However, after Steven Pienaar was harshly sent off for two yellow cards it was backs to the wall for Everton as QPR pushed for their first win of the season.
Neville lauded his team mates defensive work after the draw kept Everton in fourth place.
“I think with Steven Pienaar getting sent off it was backs-to-the-wall – we knew QPR were going to be fighting for their lives today, they needed the points”. He told Sky Sports.
The 35 year old went onto to say, “I think we can play better but I think today we showed other qualities. Today was always going to be a game where our centre backs were so important, and the two centre backs and two full backs were rocks today. They (QPR) have got big centre forwards and weÂ´ve had to defend well”.
“ItÂ´s probably the first time this season weÂ´ve really had to dig in and sacrifice a lot of our attacking play so we go into next weekÂ´s derby full of confidence”.
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Man of the Match Phil Jagielka had similar thoughts on todayÂ´s performance and of oppoenents QPR.
“We know theyÂ´ve got a fantastic squad here, theyÂ´re just lacking a little bit of confidence”. Jagielka kindly said.
“Fair play to them, they threw everything at us tonight but as I said witht he 10 men we did a very professional job”.
LetÂ´s hope this defensive confidence remains as we go into next weekÂ´s huge game against the lot over the park.