Australia midfielder Tim Cahill has warned Manchester United that Everton have hit peak form just in time for their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley this weekend.
David Moyes’ side have lost just one of their last 11 matches and Cahill is confident they can extend that impressive run at United’s expense tomorrow.
After narrowly losing 1-0 to United at Old Trafford in January, the Toffees have moved up a gear. They are firmly set at sixth place in the Premier League and go into their first FA Cup semi-final for 14 years brimming with confidence.
“We feel a lot of confidence at the moment and we have been training really well ahead of the semi-final,” Cahill said.
“We are playing with a purpose and the character of the lads is really starting to show,” he said.
Cahill has played a key role in Everton’s winning streak after adapting superbly to a more advanced attacking role.
Injuries to Ayegbeni Yakubu, James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha have often forced Moyes to use Cahill as a striker, but the Socceroos star hasn’t been fazed and is Everton’s leading scorer with nine goals.
With Brazilian striker Jo cup-tied for tomorrow’s clash, Cahill may be thrust into the attack yet again. Not that the prospect of going up against Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic — United’s imposing central defenders — will worry him.
“It does not matter where I have been playing, it is all about the team,” he said.
Cahill has experience of an FA Cup final after scoring the semi-final winner for Millwall against Sunderland in 2004, when the south Londoners went on to lose 3-0 in the final to United.
If Everton spring a surprise tomorrow, Cahill will face either Arsenal or Chelsea in the final this time.
The London rivals both reached the Champions League semi-finals this week, but neither will be taking today’s Wembley showdown lightly.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will be playing at Wembley for the first time and the Spain midfielder is already dreaming of returning to lift the cup in May.
“It is a great stadium from what I heard, there will be 80,000 fans there,” he said. “It is a dream for me to captain Arsenal to a trophy but we still need to work really hard for that to happen.”
“We are in a very good position that three months ago we would be praying to be in,” Fabregas said.
“We have to enjoy it but for sure it would be a disappointment if we do not get to a final or win. What we have achieved is good but a semi-final is not good enough,” he said.