Pienaar: I'll Win Fans Over
Midfielder not ruling out a permanent return.
Steven Pienaar has vowed to quell any discord over his Everton exit and refused to rule out a permanent future at the Club.
The South African, 29, left Goodison Park for Tottenham last January after his contract ran down to its final six months.
Now, however, the midfielder is back with the Blues having agreed a loan deal on Tuesday – brokered by chairman Bill Kenwright – which will keep him on Merseyside until the end of the season.
Pienaar, a firm fans' favourite before his departure, knows he may need to win back the hearts of certain supporters but says he is ready to earn their forgiveness through his performances on the pitch.
"There's a lot of pressure on me because of the way I played last time I was here," he said in his first evertontv interview since returning. "Hopefully I can recapture that form and make the people happy. I know I'm going to get a lot of stick but I have to make sure that I do well for the Club and maybe some of the supporters will forgive me."
Explaining why he chose to reject a fresh offer from Everton 12 months ago, Pienaar, who has made just five league starts for Spurs, said his motivation had been in seeking a new challenge.
He admits, however, that is was wrench to leave Goodison behind and hopes a familiar setting can now help restore his reputation to what it was.
"It was hard when I came in to say goodbye to some of the players here, " he recalled. "It was very emotional. Some of the guys say I don't show much emotion but, for me, inside, it was.
"It was purely about football. I could've stayed, the Club made a good offer for me but I just wanted to have new surroundings, to push myself, challenge myself, but unfortunately things didn't work out.
"From the start I had problem with my groin and I ended up having an operation in the summer. If I'd stayed [at Everton] I think I would still have ended up having the operation so things would've been the same. But I'm just happy to be back now. The past is the past and I'm looking forward to the future."
As for where that future lies, Pienaar remains pragmatic.
He said: "There were other options but, for me, coming back here was the simple thing to do. When [Harry Redknapp] asked me where I wanted to go I said I just want to go to Everton.
"At the moment, let me focus on the first few months here and just get playing and see what happens in the summer.
"It's until the end of the season and I just have to make sure I make the most of this for a few months and in the summer we can talk about my future.
"I'm an open minded person - I've always been open minded. It doesn't matter what happens but the most important thing is that in these next few months I do my best for the squad."
And key to that will be reigniting his on-field relationship with Leighton Baines.
Together the duo became one of the most lethal left-sided partnerships in the Premier League and Pienaar is optimistic about picking up where he and the England defender left off.
"We've had a good understanding on the field but also off the field," he said. "Even when I was at Spurs, we were still talking a lot. It's not only about on the pitch, it's off the field as well, because you must have a connection with your colleague. I think that's the main reason why things worked out so well the first time."