Neville urges Toffees to bounce back
Updated Sunday, 15th April 2012
Phil Neville has urged his Everton team-mates not to let their FA Cup semi-final heartache destroy the rest of this season - or the beginning of next term.
Toffees captain Neville delivered a defiant rallying cry after Saturday's agonising 2-1 Wembley defeat to Liverpool, which ended the club's hopes of a first trophy for 17 years.
But with a place in Europe still up for grabs in the league competition, Neville said: "We're in seventh position now and the sign of a good team, a great team, is when they bounce back with victories. This is when we need to show our mettle and we're going to do that next week at Old Trafford."
Should they go the other way and become consumed by the cup disappointment, they risk the same fate as Bolton, who have nosedived since losing at the same stage of the competition last season and are in real danger of relegation.
Such a hangover is unthinkable for an Everton side whose financial problems were laid bare at the beginning of the campaign, of which they spent the first two months flirting with the drop.
Neville said: "We've somehow got to bounce back from this. Back in October, when everyone thought the club was on its knees, we've bounced back from that disappointment."
Despite losing all three Merseyside derbies this season, Everton lie a point above Liverpool and can finish above them for the first time since 2005.
Neville said: "It won't make up for it because, at the end of the day, we want to win silverware.
"But seventh position might qualify us for Europe - you just never know. That would be a little bit of consolation for this season.
"We need to carry on into next season, and start the season well. We're proud of the way we're playing in the second half of the season. Sometimes, you've just got to take your punishment and that's what we've got to do."