Distin Set For Derby
Frenchman 'stronger' following last season's cup disappointment.
Sylvain Distin insists he has emerged as a stronger player following last season’s Wembley heartbreak against Liverpool.
The veteran defender felt last April’s FA Cup semi-final disappointment more than most after his under-cooked backpass presented Luis Suarez with the opportunity to score the equalising goal, before Andy Carroll won the tie late on.
Distin, however, is refusing to dwell on that past experience, instead opting to use it as motivation heading into Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
"It’s strange because when people ask me for my highlight of last season I often mention the semi-final,” Distin said.
“Some people don’t understand why I’d say that but I learned a lot about myself and my team-mates, the staff here and the fans. You see what people really feel. Also you learn a lot about yourself.
"Things like that will happen to a player during their career; big game, big mistake. I came out stronger.
"It wasn’t easy. I had a tough few weeks with all sorts of thoughts going through my mind – even should I stop football? It went that far. But I came out stronger and that’s the most important thing.
"You learn more when you lose those kind of games. When you win, you just celebrate and then turn the page. When you get beat it stays with you. You analyse what happened more.
"I don’t want to lose any more but there can be positives.”
Despite extra significance being placed on Sunday’s derby, Distin revealed that preparations have been the same as any other Premier League fixture.
Victory over Brendan Rodgers' side would put Everton back within touching distance of the clubs currently occupying the top-five positions entering the final fortnight of the season.
“The gaffer won’t do anything different," he says. "He keeps us under the same level of pressure all season. Until the last game we’ll do exactly the same; run hard, work hard and follow the tactics.
“The only difference is we’ll go to the hotel the day before the game just to make sure we’re focused even though the game is in Liverpool.
"But training and football-wise it’ll be exactly the same."