Arteta feeling his way back to fitness

BY foxsports • February 15, 2010

Arteta, 27, is looking to retain his place in the side against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Wednesday at Goodison Park. The Spaniard made his first start in almost a year last week in the superb victory over Chelsea. He is likely to be called on again in the first leg of the round of 32 as Marouane Fellaini is recovering from an ankle injury. Arteta said: "When I returned it felt like I had never played in my life. I had to get prepared for the game at home and think about the way I had to eat and rest. "Then I would come here to pick up my shin pads and boots...the pace of the game, it was awkward. "I am trying all I can but I was planning to have more weeks training with the lads. However with Fellaini's injury we've had to rush it a bit. "It is going to take a while to get to my best but with the passion I have for every game hopefully that will compensate a bit." Arteta is relieved to be on the mend after the injury took longer to heal than anticipated and believes Everton are one of the teams to fear in the competition. He said: "I was worried as I had a couple of setbacks. It was really hard for me. But in a way I was lucky. We had some other injured players and we tried to help each other by giving advice. "I have missed matches for a year so you can imagine how excited I am now. The pressure is on myself but obviously it helps that the team is winning. "Tomorrow is a special game as this is the only way we can get a trophy this year and that is something we are desperate to do. We have the potential and the players. "We have good experience at this level the last few years. Looking at the other teams we can compete with them." As well as Fellaini, manager David Moyes will also be without John Heitinga as he is ineligible. Philippe Senderos is doubtful with a back problem but Steven Pienaar returns to the squad following a domestic suspension. Everton go into the match on a good run of form after just two defeats in 11 games in all competitions. Sporting, in contrast, are in the middle of a dip after winning their group ahead of Hertha Berlin. Moyes is anxious to get the better of their opponents after losing 5-0 and 2-0 to Sporting's city neighbours Benfica earlier in the campaign. He said: "We did enough to get through in the earlier stages and we are a lot stronger now. We are on top of the ground and hopefully we will continue that way. "We would have liked the second leg to be at home. But the first leg is here and we have to try and make it difficult for Sporting. "It has changed a little bit for us. We are in a good moment, Sporting are not. "But we will not underestimate them as they have been in the Champions League and European competitions. There are similarities to Sporting and Benfica. But I think Benfica are a more accomplished side."

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