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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Pienaar Relishing Rest

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Steven Pienaar hopes an extended rest can do Everton good before their long-distance trip to Southampton on Monday.

The Blues played four games in just 12 days over the Christmas and New Year period and have since faced an FA Cup third round encounter at Cheltenham Town and last weekend's visit of Swansea City.

However, following the goalless draw with Michael Laudrup's side, the Toffees have a nine-day break without a game, and Pienaar believes that should lead to a rejuvenated outfit taking to the pitch at St Mary's.

The South African, though, has warned his teammates not to switch off in the meantime, the 30-year-old stressing the importance of remaining focused while seizing a rare opportunity to recuperate.

"Sometimes you need to refuel and hopefully we can do that now," Pienaar told evertontv. “I hope it works in a positive way because sometimes when the game is so far away the guys can relax and forget about it and that could work against us. The break will be important but equally it’s important that doesn’t happen.”
 
Having suffered three straight defeats against Everton since their promotion to the Premier League in 2011, Swansea's approach at Goodison was to defend en masse and restrict opponents who had netted in each of their previous 20 games.

Key to that tactic was deploying two right-backs to stifle the threat of Pienaar and left-sided cohort Leighton Baines - though the former feels his side should still have come away with more than a solitary point.

"It was really difficult [against Swansea] and I think they played really well," he said. "At the back they were really well organised.  

"But I think with the half chances we created we could have won the game, but we were just unfortunate. It was really hard."

"It just shows that they’re respecting our position," he added. "Of course coming here they know it’s not going to be an easy game, as usual, but I must say that they stuck to their task and it worked for them.

"But, like I said, if you take your half chances, like we created in the first half, then things can be different. If we'd scored one I think it could have been a different ball game. Unfortunately, we didn’t."

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