Leighton Baines believes Everton fans were right to boo after the Blues dropped points at Goodison last time out and insisted: “We must do better.”
The England defender understands why the supporters were so frustrated following the draw with relegation-haunted Hull City, and feels the crowd have every right to voice their anger after the final whistle.
As the Blues prepare to host QPR at home tonight, Baines said it’s time Roberto Martinez’s men put their inconsistent form behind them, and start climbing the Premier League table.
But he asked the Goodison faithful to stick with them during the 90 minutes.
He said: “Putting myself in a fan’s shoes the performance on the night against Hull wasn’t good enough. But it’s not just that, because we get supported very well, it’s accumulated frustration.
“Every week you’re seeing others slipping up; Liverpool, Arsenal. You see people dropping points and just think, ‘If we can just win we’ll go above them, and so on.’.
“Then we’re not producing that. We got to Tottenham who haven’t been producing so well either, a big chance to get a win there.
“And I’d guess that’s what was behind the booing, that frustration. It’s something we’re all feeling.
“You buy a ticket to go the game and you’ve definitely got a right to an opinion and to voice it. I think if you’re going to do that after the game then fair enough.
“Support us, stick with the team through the game and try and play a part in that sense. That’s great. Then you’re fully entitled to your reaction afterwards. You pay your money.
“We expect better and we know the fans do. We’ve got to try and do better.”
Baines celebrated his 30th birthday last Thursday, and wants to remain at Everton beyond the end of his current contract, which expires in 2017.
However, the left-back said he won’t play on if he thinks he is no longer capable of performing at the required level.
“I think the thing with me is that if I can still do it then I’ll keep doing it,” he said. “There’s nothing better. I can’t think of anything I can do better than playing football.
“So I’ll do it for as long as I can in that sense. I’m definitely not looking to stick around afterwards. But look at Syl (Distin) – he can still do it, he’s a beast.
“He’s freakish in that he still has his speed and everything. So I do look at him and other lads in the team three or four years older than me still doing it.
“As long as I can still maintain my levels I’ll do it. But I’m too self-conscious to stick around if I can’t contribute. You see some people hang around for the sake of it. Drag it out. That’d just riddle me with guilt I think I’d be thinking: “They know I haven’t got it anymore. They’re onto me’.
Everton FC vs Hull City in FA Premier League at Goodison Park Liverpool. Leighton Baines as Everton concede to Hull. Pic Gareth Jones
“But as I say, the way things have gone during my generation it does seem like players are prolonging careers.
“We were talking about it in the physio room earlier. Syl said it’s his birthday soon too and he’s 37. I’ve definitely got no plans to be doing it when I’m 37.
“But there has been a lot put in place over the last 10 years. I’m contracted until I’m 32 so there’s every chance I’ve got it in me to extend that.”
With players such as Ryan Giggs not retiring until he was 40, and Andrea Pirlo still excelling at the highest level aged 35, Baines believes his generation can also stay at their peak for longer.
Much has changed since the full-back was a trainee at Wigan Atheltic in 2002, and he believes the education of young players now stands them in better stead to stay fit beyond 30.
“When I was 18 or 19 people weren’t playing to that age,” he said. “But when I came into it properly it coincided with the real emphasis on your life style. It started then, so maybe that will stand me in good stead. I was in at the stage when we were getting educated about things players didn’t know before.
“Sports science has taken off massively during my time as a player. We do all kinds of things.
“Back when I started at Wigan if you’d started putting out some of the stuff in the gym we do now, they’d have just gone home. Walked out.
Now you’ve got a gym full of fellas wanting to do all of this Pilates and Yoga, the functional movement stuff etc. So who knows? Maybe I will go on longer.”
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