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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final


Hitzlsperger calls for quick recovery

Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has warned that the club's defeat at Reading must act as a wake-up call if they are to sustain their challenge for Champions League football.

• Blog: Reading reality check
• Everton recall Barkley

Hitzlsperger, 30, made his first start for the Toffees, following his recent signing, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Manager David Moyes was fuming after the defeat, which was Reading's first league win of the season, declaring: "I'm probably as p***** off as I have ever been after that."

Everton slipped from fourth to fifth after the loss, and will drop to sixth if West Ham beat Stoke on Monday night.

The former Germany international is in no doubt that Everton must play much better at home to Norwich on Saturday to ensure the disappointment of the Reading defeat is overcome quickly.

"Maybe it was a bit of a wake-up call but we will see how we react against Norwich," he told the Liverpool Echo. "We've got the quality and the character to bounce back but we've got to prove that. It's disappointing and frustrating because it's a game we should have won.

"We've had games before this season when we didn't play well for 90 minutes but got the right result - but we just didn't finish this game off in the right manner."

After the Norwich game, Everton face a tricky run of fixtures, with Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham to follow in successive matches, and Chelsea due to visit Goodison Park at the end of December.

"December is going to be tough in terms of the teams we're coming up against and we've got to play well for 90 minutes in this league otherwise you'll struggle," Hitzlsperger said. "We found that out the hard way.

"We shouldn't be looking ahead at Man City, Spurs or Chelsea. It's Norwich at home on Saturday and it's a game we need to win."


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