Alan Stubbs has total belief that his Everton Under-21s can rise to the occasion and progress past Tottenham Hotspur in Monday evening’s play-off semi-final.
The tie is Everton’s reward for the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Newcastle United in last week’s play-off at Goodison.
And Stubbs is convinced his players will relish the opportunity to play at White Hart Lane in a game of such magnitude, with a final berth against Manchester United or Liverpool the prize for the winners.
“On our day we can beat anyone and that doesn’t change on Monday,” Stubbs told evertonfc.com. “I will be emphasising how much faith I have got in the team and that I believe in them totally.
“They have been fantastic all season and whatever happens I will be happy with what they have done. That’s me speaking from a coaching perspective, but I will still be driving them on because I want them to win. I want them to step out at White Hart Lane and show how far they have progressed this season.
“It’s a great stage – White Hart Lane was one my favourite grounds and it will be fantastic for them to go to there and play – but I don’t want them to be looking around and thinking what a lovely stadium it is because we have come to do a job.
“We haven’t come down just to make up the numbers – I can guarantee that 100 per cent. We will be representing Everton and that means setting the highest standards.
“It’s all about what happens on the night and that is what cup football is all about. It’s whoever performs on the night and copes with the stage.”
Everton Under-21s have strung together a 16-match unbeaten run to reach the semi-finals, dating back to last November.
Stubbs admits, however, that Spurs are likely to provide the toughest challenge his team will have faced this season.
“Monday will be their biggest test they have faced up to now, but it’s one they can rise to and one that they have got to meet head on,” explained the former Blues defender.
“Yes, Spurs have finished top of their league but so have we. We have topped a group consisting of some big teams – the NextGen winners Aston Villa and Fulham, then we have beaten Newcastle.
“Our players have a great attribute at the moment and it is that they don’t know when they are beaten, and that’s a fantastic thing to have as a player.
“They have bounced back time and time again this season and they have responded to everything that I have asked of them.
“We have prepared well; staying at the hotel and going through the match analysis on how we can beat them. We will see where that can take us but I fully believe in the group of players.”
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