'Felli Can Help Extend Run'
Jags & Baines talk about the trip to Chelsea.
Below is the penultimate part of our four-part series featuring the Blues’ England duo – Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka – that is running this week on evertonfc.com. Today they preview the trip to Chelsea before the fourth and concluding segment (Sunday) will feature Jagielka on Baines, and Baines on Jagielka.
The reference might not mean a lot to a 23-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent – but Phil Jagielka says Marouane Fellaini will need to do another Inspector Gadget impression if Everton are to prevail at Chelsea this weekend.
The England centre-half is of course comparing Fellaini’s seemingly telescopic legs with the extendable limbs of the 1980s cult cartoon copper.
Fellaini has put in some formidable displays at Stamford Bridge in recent visits – showcasing his talents as one of the finest young defensive midfielders in the country with some all-action performances.
At his best he is rarely beaten in the air, or in the tackle and his ability to win countless second balls helps prompt attacks as well as relieving the pressure on his defence.
Jagielka told evertontv: “I have played alongside Felli the last few times we have been down there and he has been like a machine in the middle of the park.
“He has been mopping up everything with those go-go-gadget legs of his.
“So hopefully he can have another fantastic performance and maybe Tim or Louis can pop up and continue their rich goalscoring form against Chelsea and nick us one.”
Jagielka and teammate Leighton Baines have just returned from England duty where they have been training, living and playing alongside a number of Chelsea players.
Naturally there has been plenty of talk ahead of this weekend’s fixture and both feel it isn’t a game the hosts are looking forward to.
Baines said: “We have done quite well against them in the past few seasons and I am sure they won’t be looking forward to playing us – especially twice in 10 days or whatever it is – given our record against them.
“We have managed to make life difficult for them recently and we will go down to try and replicate that and get a result.
“It is hard to say why (we have done well in the past). But you have those records against some teams. You have certain clubs you have no joy against and then others you do really well against.
“Luckily for us Stamford Bridge has been a good ground for us. But we know it is always going to be hard and that record counts for little unless you go there and work as hard and play as well as you did the time before."
Jagielka added: “We have had a bit of a laugh and a joke about it. Ashley Cole and John Terry aren’t exactly shy when it comes to getting involved in a bit of the banter. We have a good record down there so hopefully we can continue that and be the ones giving it out when we see them next.”
Baines, meanwhile, was absolutely key to Everton’s unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge last term. His exquisite run and cross set up Jermaine Beckford’s equaliser in the league while his FA Cup free-kick – later voted Club Goal of the Season – was probably the highlight of Everton's entire campaign.
And he said: “As a team we have always played well there and that has probably helped me individually. You feel relaxed and enjoy playing.
“Also the ground is a little bit similar to ours in that it is a proper English football stadium and I always enjoy going there.”