Osman predicts tough test against Stoke

PA Sport
Leon Osman

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Leon Osman

Midfielder Leon Osman admits Everton's desire to continue playing their free-scoring football of recent times will be challenged at Stoke on Tuesday night.

The Britannia Stadium is a difficult place for visiting teams and despite scoring 12 goals in their last three matches - four apiece in successive league games for the first time since 1964 - the Toffees will not have it easy.

"It will be a test whether we can play the football we have played because we know we will have to compete physically with them," said Osman. "It is going to be a completely different test with a tight pitch and the type of football they play."

Fellow midfielder Tim Cahill agrees and knows they cannot afford to allow their standards to drop even slightly.

"I think it's hard to look forward to Stoke," said the Australia international. "Physically they're very demanding and tactically, with their long throws and their set-plays, it can be quite a grind.

"Tony Pulis has done a great job with that team and obviously the players that they've got work really well together. If we go to a place like that even at 90% it's not going to be enough. We really need to make sure that we stop them physically and then hopefully we play enough football to win the game."

Meanwhile, Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic claims there will be no easing up as the Potters near the end of their lengthy campaign.

With 53 games already played, and little to play for other than a top-half finish, Stoke might be tempted to ease up as a memorable season reaches its final three games.

But Begovic insists there are no such thoughts at the Britannia Stadium ahead of the Everton clash.

The Bosnian said: "We've got to pick up as many points as we can. The season's been great so far. Some of the performances, especially at home, have been fantastic. We want to finish well and take momentum into next season. You can't take your foot off the pedal. Every game has big meaning in the Premier League and tonight should be a cracker."

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