Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal may have left Everton with little to play for this season but Leighton Baines is insisting that they will continue to play attacking, expansive football as they chase a Europa League place.
Having been beaten 4-1 by the Gunners it would be easy for Everton to sit back in the future, trying to avoid being exposed on the counter-attack but Baines is confident that his side will stick with the style that they have adopted under Roberto Martinez. “We try to attack because we’re an attacking team but we’ve got to get the balance right so that we can’t get countered on,” the 29 year old said. “The nature of our play is that we are a bit expansive at times but it’s something we don’t want to compromise on.”
Everton showed real improvement early on under Martinez but a series of defeats to top of the table rivals has left them in seventh place in the league, nine points behind Manchester City in fourth. After such a long period under David Moyes, this season was always going to be one of transition for the Toffees but they will be hugely disappointed if they miss out on European football again. Baines is confident that the attacking approach will start to pay dividends soon and he is calling upon his team to stay true to themselves. “We just want to get better at it, and ultimately that will lead us to getting better results,” the England man said. “We’re sticking to our guns and our style. We’re buying into it and trying to improve every day,” he added.
Everton, odds-on with Paddy Power to finish in the top six, have been a joy to watch this season but their fans will know better than most that good football doesn’t necessarily bring success. If the Blues are to secure a European place next year then they will need a strong finish to the season, starting with a convincing performance at home to Cardiff City on Saturday.