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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Phil Jagielka says Everton were thwarted by a combination of Crystal Palace’s disciplined game-plan and the Eagles’ determination to avoid an eighth straight league defeat in Saturday’s goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

For a second weekend in succession, Everton laid siege to their opponents’ penalty box after half-time but were unable to find the all-important breakthrough.

Jagielka’s 77th-minute header, which struck the crossbar, was the closest Everton came to finding a way past goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

Jagielka said: “Probably nil-nil was a fair result and a little bit frustrating, but sometimes you have those days.

“They [Palace] are trying their hardest to get out of the predicament they are in, they are at home and their fans did a fantastic job in getting behind the team.

“Fair play to them - they had a game-plan and they stuck to it. I think they will be a little bit happier with a point than we are but come the end of the season that point could be very important.”

Despite victory escaping Everton, Jagielka did take consolation in the fact the Toffees recorded yet another clean sheet.

The Blues have not conceded in any of their last three matches and have kept shut-outs in over half of their league games so far this season.

“Having a bit more ball retention means other teams can’t be putting us under as much pressure as in previous seasons, but there are still a few things we need to work on as a defensive unit,” added Jagielka.

“Our keeper was a bit too busy for our own liking today but that’s us being perfectionists.

"We’d have liked to have created a few more chances to take the pressure off us at the back, but we always like to keep clean sheets as a team and it’s nice to get another one today.”

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