Phil Jagielka can’t wait for Everton to be roared on by thousands of travelling Blues in Lille – and wants to reward them by edging the club closer to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Everton FC currently lead Group H after two games and travel to France tomorrow in search of a result which would put them in pole position to qualify as top of the pile.
Jagielka, 32, insists the Toffees’ confidence is sky-high in Europe after their impressive start to their campaign, and wants to ensure they provide plenty of memorable nights for the fans this term.
Between 8-10,000 supporters are estimated to be making the trip to Northern France, and the skipper said: “I’ve heard there are going to be thousands of Evertonians over there and I expect lots and lots more than predicted to get themselves there.
“These are the nights we want to enjoy.
“Confidence-wise in the Europa League we’re sky high. It’s not like we’re at rock-bottom in the Premier League but results haven’t generally gone as we’d have liked.
“We played well against Aston Villa, didn’t make the silly mistakes we made in previous games and came out with three points.
“But the position we’re in in the Europa League is pretty healthy at the moment.
“We know it’s not done and dusted. We need a couple more good performances to qualify, but we’ve put ourselves in a good position and hopefully these away games will help us get stronger.”
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Jagielka has only played 14 games in Europe with Everton, but insists he has already got some special recollections of the atmosphere created by the travelling Blue Army.
“I have good memories of the Nuremburg game and then coming back after 10 months out and having the Sporting Lisbon game,” he said.
“They’re great memories. I even look back fondly on the Fiorentina game (when Everton bowed out of the Uefa Cup in 2008 on penalties with Jagielka’s crucial spot-kick saved, despite a thrilling fight-back at Goodison), that atmosphere, until my last involvement in the game.
“The game itself was amazing. We need to get to those later stages again and make more enjoyable nights in the Europa League.”
Thousands of Blues are bound for France as Europa League Group H leaders Everton take on Lille. And among the travelling supporters are @LivEchonews EFC writer Greg O’Keeffe and photographer Andy Teebay. From Wednesday you can keep up to date with their exploits with our live coverage of the build up and the big game and follow them on Twitter @GregOK and @andyteebaypics
Are you in Lille? Tweet your pictures to @LivEchonews or @LivECHOEFC or post them on our EFC Facebook page and we’ll feature them on our live blog.