As Everton prepare for their first European match for five seasons, Phil Jagielka says the Toffees squad “can’t get enough” games.
The England international and his team-mates take on German side Wolfsburg at Goodison Park on Thursday night, and although the competition means additional fixtures for the club, the defender sees it as a positive.
“We performed at some good levels last year to get us into this competition,” said Jagielka.
“We were all upstairs in the canteen waiting for the draw to be announced and it was good fun. A couple of weeks have passed since then and everyone’s really excited at the prospect of playing Thursday night football.”
He continued: “We can’t get enough games. Two games a week, as long as we stay injury free, will suit us.
“It’s all about momentum. At the start of the season we didn’t particularly play too badly but we didn’t manage to find any momentum. We conceded far too many goals and didn’t see out games.
“Since we came back from the international break it’s all about us getting that ball rolling, getting clean sheets, getting goals, getting wins.
“If we can get the snowball effect moving towards Christmas, hopefully pick up as many wins as we can in every competition we’re in, hopefully we can have an exciting second half of the season.”
Jagielka featured in Everton’s last European game, a 3-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon back in February 2010, a match that marked his comeback from a long spell out with a cruciate ligament injury.
He has since gone on to become club captain, and he says this evening’s clash will be another “special night” in his career.
“I’ve captained the team for a year. It’ll be the first opportunity to captain the team on a Thursday night. A very proud moment again,” he said.
“A lot of my friends and family will be here. We’ve already spoken about how special night games are at Goodison. Obviously the added spice of it being a European fixture as well will be very special, but we’ve got to go out there and perform well and get the right result.”