Cahill ‘excited’ by Euro exploits

A good run of form, including a victory over Chelsea only last

week, has raised the spirits at Goodison Park. Cahill cannot wait

to get started on Tuesday when they entertain Sporting Lisbon in

the first leg of the round of 32. Even though Everton managed to

get through the group stage they were hurt by two defeats, 5-0 and

2-0, by Sporting’s neighbours Benfica. However, crucial wins

against BATE Borisov and AEK Athens secured their passage to the

next stage. Since then injured players have returned and the team’s

results have improved as a consequence with only two defeats in 11

games in all competitions. Cahill told UEFA’s website: “I’m very

blessed to play for such a great club. I always say you have to run

through brick walls. “That’s regardless of knocks and injuries. We

have that right mental attitude. Hopefully we can just grow

stronger. “I’m just excited at the moment. When you draw Sporting,

you are in with the best teams in the world. “I just wanted to

learn as much as I could about their team, their stadium and the

attendance they get.” Sporting have endured a turbulent time with

coach Carlos Carvalhal appointed in November until the end of the

season after Paulo Bento resigned. Even though the Portuguese side

won their group ahead of Hertha Berlin, their domestic form has

been indifferent and they lie a distant fourth to Benfica in the

table. Everton’s previous run in the knockout rounds came to an end

in 2008 when they were knocked out on penalties after pegging back

a 2-0 deficit against Fiorentina. Cahill added: “Because we haven’t

been in too many European competitions, it’s something the fans

live for – taking the club to the next level, not only on the pitch

but off it. “Having special away days are a reward for the fans,

and they respond by supporting their team and being the 12th man.

“I tell you, you can’t hear anything, and when that ball goes in

the net it’s an explosion of fireworks. It shakes through you.”