PHIL Jagielka admits that Everton’s Merseyside derby defeat has piled the pressure on Saturday’s clash with Sunderland.
Everton’s nine-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end at Anfield on Tuesday night as the Toffees succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to neighbours Liverpool.
Boss David Moyes rested six first-team regulars after opting to prioritise the FA Cup as he looks to secure the first trophy of his 10-year reign.
But the criticism stemming from the changes and the manner of the defeat has put the spotlight on this weekend’s quarter-final, with England defender Jagielka aware of the need to respond against Sunderland.
Jagielka said: “The boys have been doing really well and hopefully we can continue the decent cup run we have had. After Tuesday’s result, it puts a little bit more pressure on the cup because 3-0 is not good enough.
“It is a big game for us. Hopefully a good result on Saturday can cheer the fans up.”
Jagielka made his first start since January 4 against Liverpool after two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
But the former Sheffield United man could not stem the tide as Steven Gerrard’s hat-trick secured a comfortable win for Kenny Dalglish’s side.
Jagielka added: “A lot of us got a chance to play and it did not really work out very well. I didn’t think we did that bad but we killed ourselves with the way we conceded goals. Obviously, we are very disappointed. We conceded goals at the wrong times.
“We weathered the storm at the start of the first half but got done on the counter-attack.
“They scored at the start of the second half which pretty much took the wind out of our sails. Then we were chasing the game towards the end and we conceded a third.
“It’s always about the timing of the goals and if it is 1-0 for a while you are still in it.”