Tim Howard Hopes Everton Regains Form
By Duncan Day
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard saw his team, currently vying for a Champions League spot at fifth place in the Premier League standings, fall to a helpless 2-0 defeat against Southampton.
“Hopefully we'll brush it aside as a one-off and we'll have it all to do against Manchester City,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
The U.S. international conceded two unfortunate own goals by defenders Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman in the loss to the Saints. These mental mistakes, Howard believes, were completely uncharacteristic of his side.
"Sometimes it is [hard to fathom] because it was so unlike us," he said, according to Goal.com. "We just weren't ourselves. The disappointing thing was the performance; two own goals, you can't legislate for that and we just weren't at the races."
Only the fourth netminder in Everton history to record 100 clean sheets, Howard has been on top of his game this season, one of the best goalies in the league. The English club rewarded his efforts by offering him an extension through 2018.
Howard remains fixated on the task at hand--qualifying for the Champions League.
"Mathematically we still have a chance so it's not over," said the former Manchester United man.
"The thing is not to let it affect us too much and the manager has been brilliant in that regard. He dismisses it quickly; both bad results and good ones. We need a good week of training now and to be focused on what City are coming to throw at us.”
Howard is right in saying Roberto Martinez and Everton will have to pay attention to the dynamism of City, maintaining two of the top five goal-scorers (Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure) in the EPL among other skilled offensive weapons. Manchester City will have clear intention as well, trying to edge closer to the top of the table after their win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
And Everton will be without fast-paced, technically-gifted midfielder Gareth Barry. Kevin Mirallas is out for the rest of the season with a groin tear, while striker Romelu Lukaku has only scored four goals since the start of 2014.
Ross Barkely or Leon Osman will likely serve as the replacement for Barry, but one cannot surely think that either of them will make up for all of the Blues’ misfortunes.
So, if the Toffees' back line doesn’t completely implode, Howard’s performance could outline the difference between his team seizing victory or gaining zero points. It will be fascinating to see how the 'keeper challenges the Sky Blues in an absolutely vital competition.