Saha shares burden for slow start

BY foxsports • February 6, 2011

Last year's top goalscorer made little impact in the first five months of the current campaign, missing six games with a calf injury and failing to score in the Premier League until January. His problems compounded the poor form of the team, who have found themselves stuck in the bottom half for most of the season having been expected to challenge for Europe. But Saha has been a player transformed since finally breaking his duck in the win over Tottenham four weeks ago. The 32-year-old has now scored eight in his last six games after underlining his recent return to form with four goals in a stunning 5-3 win over Blackpool at Goodison Park. That result gave the Toffees a little more breathing space after slipping too close to the bottom three for comfort. Saha said: "We know we could do better, we should be higher in the table. "We have got a squad with brilliant players, quality players. "If everyone plays at their top level we can get results and move up the table, where we should be. "If I played the same way as I did here we would have been in a better situation." Saha, signed from Manchester United in 2008, scored 15 times for Everton last season but the goals dried up after a double in a memorable win over Chelsea in February. Looking back over 11 frustrating months, the Frenchman admits form had deserted him before the last campaign ended. "I did struggle towards the end of last season," said the Frenchman, who had never scored a Premier League hat-trick prior to yesterday. "Then when you come back for the season and get an injury, a setback it is always hard. "You have to work hard to get back to a certain level. It is not like I am 22. So I wasn't very lucky - but that does happen, so I must keep working hard. "When you are confident in your ability, one day it is going to come. "To get the goal in the Tottenham game was very helpful." Saha opened the scoring after 20 minutes against Blackpool and was unlucky to be denied another shortly after the Seasiders equalised. Saha tucked the ball home but referee Kevin Friend had already blown for a foul on Seamus Coleman seconds earlier. He put that right early in the second half by turning in a Leighton Baines cross but Blackpool typically roared back to take a 3-2 lead. It was left to Saha to level matters again and he sealed the win with his fourth late on after Jermaine Beckford put them back in front with a brilliant volley. Saha added: "I think I celebrated more when Jermaine scored. "It was a big relief because of the situation we were in. "When Jermaine came on I knew we were going to get some more opportunities, so he helped the team brilliantly and we know he can score goals." Blackpool remain one of the most entertaining sides in the league but form has deserted them and they are sliding alarmingly after seven defeats in eight games. Their first equaliser came when an Ian Evatt shot hit the post and appeared to cross the line, but Alex Baptiste made sure it went in anyway. New signing Jason Puncheon levelled for a second time just after the hour and Charlie Adam turned the game on its head moments later - only for it all to go wrong again. Manager Ian Holloway said: "We played our part but unfortunately our part at the moment is coming up just short. "Every club that comes up normally has a period and we are in that period, so we have got to dig ourselves out of it. "The great news is we have 28 points already, but we are going to need more than that to finish the season. "In times like this you wonder where they are going to come from. "But can we get back out on the training ground, get this lot together, carry on and find a clean sheet from somewhere? I believe we can. Hopefully the lads do as well."


share story