James McCarthy believes Everton can come out on top
James McCarthy thinks nicking the fourth Champions League place from Arsenal would be the perfect revenge for Everton FC’s FA Cup quarter-final exit.
Only four points separate Everton from fourth-placed Arsenal going into Sunday’s highly-anticipated clash at Goodison Park.
Should Roberto Martinez’s side win, the Blues would turn to their game in hand at home to Crystal Palace to go two points clear with only five fixtures to play.
Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 at the Emirates in March to advance to the semi-final – Romelu Lukaku’s equaliser wiped out by Mikel Arteta and an Olivier Giroud double in a crumbling second half.
But McCarthy believes Everton, off the back of a five-game Premier League winning streak, can make amends for that loss with three invaluable points.
“It was a big three points (at Fulham) and now we have Arsenal at home which is going to be a big one,” said the midfielder.
“I’m sure the fans will come out in their numbers and hopefully we can put things right, and obviously try and push for that Champions League spot now.
“They put us out of the cup and it’s never nice to get beaten. It’s going to be a big ask but we’ll give it our best shot.
“It’s in the balance. If we want it, it’s there in front of us and we can go and give it our best shot. As a squad, we believe we can do it. There’s still a long way to go and we’ll give it our best shot.”
With so much pressure heaped on the Everton team with the season coming to a tense close, it can become difficult for the players to “enjoy” their football.
Martinez admitted the importance of allowing his squad to do so last week, and stressed it can find its way on to the pitch.
And Republic of Ireland international McCarthy reiterated his manager’s mentality.
“I think you enjoy it,” the 23-year-old added.
“You need to enjoy the occasion and you need to enjoy the challenge. If not, then I think you’re in the wrong game to be fair.
“I think the second half (at Fulham) we definitely enjoyed it a bit more than what we did the first half. We got the ball down and we passed the ball.
“Steven Naismith came on and thankfully we got the winner. He changed the game to be fair.”
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