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 on Sunday. After narrowly losing 1-0 to United at Old Trafford in January, the Toffees have moved up a gear. They are firmly set in sixth place on the Premier League ladder 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. It is just so good to be a part of it. We are growing week-in, week-out and getting stronger on and off the pitch."
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 Sunday'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.
"We got the ball in the net three times against Aston Villa last Sunday and we want to do the same at the weekend. If I end up getting opportunities, I will get my goals and they are a bonus which I really enjoy.
"Hopefully there will be a few more chances to come and I will stick them in the back of the net. We are now looking forward to the next game because our play has been good for the last few weeks." While Everton haven't reached this stage of the competition for over a decade, 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 on Sunday, Cahill will face either Arsenal or Chelsea in the final this time. The London rivals both reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this week, but neither will be taking their 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. 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."