Everton defender Phil Jagielka wants his club to lift their work rate for their final three matches of the season.The Toffees play FA Cup finalists Manchester City at Goodison Park on Saturday, relegation candidates West Brom away on cup final day (May 14) and finish with a home match against Chelsea on Sunday, May 22.
Jagielka said it was evident in the 1-1 draw with Wigan on Saturday that some of his team-mates lacked match fitness.
“It’s difficult. The boys are looking a little bit tired and some of them have been out for a while and not played much football,” Jagielka, 28, told the Liverpool Echo.
“The team itself was a bit up and down against Wigan so hopefully we can refresh the boys and get a bit of fitness back into the lads who need it before Manchester City come.”
“It wasn’t a great performance. We didn’t look like scoring.”
“I suppose you can say we didn’t lose and we got a point but that’s the only positives we can take from it.”
Mikel Arteta and Australian Tim Cahill returned to the starting line-up after injuries but both had to be substituted in the second half when they started to struggle.
But Jagielka insisted the poor showing was nothing to do with the return of the duo.
“They are special players and add a lot to our team,” he said.
“We’ve played a slightly different way in recent weeks and picked up some fantastic performances along the way.”
“Even at Man U it was a decent containing job for most of the game, but it was nothing to do with those two coming back why we didn’t play well.”
“At least that’s 60 minutes under their belt and it will only make them better come the weekend.”
Jagielka accepted Everton must improve if they hope to do the double over Manchester City.
“We’ll have to play a little bit better than we did at Wigan against City. They will have Champions League football on their minds and we want to stay at least in seventh.”
“If we finish seventh it will be good because we’ve spent most of the season in the bottom half.”