Cahill 'excited' by Euro exploits

Cahill 'excited' by Euro exploits

Published Feb. 15, 2010 9:52 a.m. ET

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill believes David Moyes' Toffees have the mindset to make an impact in the Europa League this season.

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."