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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Steven Gerrard has today apologised to Everton, admitting his criticism of the Blues in the aftermath of Sunday's derby went 'too far'.

The Liverpool captain was quoted suggesting the Blues are a long-ball team, likening their approach to that of Stoke City.

The 32-year old also claimed that his team were the only side trying to play football on the day. However, having had time to reflect on the 2-2 draw, Gerrard confessed his initial assessment was over the top.

He said: “Just to clarify, I’ve watched the game again, and I’ve seen some of Everton’s matches this season, and what I said in relation to their style of play went too far.

“I was frustrated by the disallowed goal from Luis [Suarez] when I spoke and also some of the things that have been said about Luis in recent weeks which haven’t been fair in my opinion.

“As captain I have a duty to stand up for our players when I feel they are unfairly singled out.

“But it wasn’t my intention to disrespect Everton or Stoke for that matter and I certainly didn’t intend any disrespect to their manager or players.

“I have the utmost respect for David Moyes and Tony Pulis and the job they have done at their respective clubs."

Gerrard's England teammate Phil Jagielka had earlier shrugged off accusations of Everton being a long-ball side.

The stats from Sunday's game showed the Blues enjoyed more possession than their neighbours and attempted and completed more passes, with a smaller proportion of those classed as 'long passes'.

And Jagielka believes that an ability to change between styles of play has been key to the Club's strong start to the campaign.

"We've seen the comments and people are allowed to have their opinion," said the centre-half.

"We do put the ball forward quite a lot, but we do play good football as well. We like to play in the opponent's half and there's nothing wrong with that.

"We have a game plan and it's worked quite well for us as far as the league states.

"We'll keep playing exactly as we have been for the last couple of months or so."

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