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The Toffees will have enjoyed nine days' rest ahead of their clash with Southampton next Monday and the South African believes that will prove to be a big advantage

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar is hopeful an extended break from competitive action can have a positive effect his team-mates ahead of Monday's clash with Southampton

David Moyes' men will have enjoyed nine days without a game when they travel to St Mary's to take on the south coast side next week.

And, after the busy festive fixture list fully tested the Toffees' small squad, the South African is hopeful of improvement thanks to a rest.

"Sometimes you need to refuel and hopefully we can do that now," he told the club's official website.

"I hope it works in a positive way because sometimes when the game is so far away the guys can relax and forget about it and that could work against us.
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"The break will be important but equally it’s important that doesn’t happen."

The Blues were held to a 0-0 draw by Swansea at Goodison Park in their last outing, and the 28-year-old believes the visitors' defensive approach conveyed the respect which Everton have earned.

"It was really difficult [against Swansea] and I think they played really well," he added.

"At the back they were really well organised. But I think with the half chances we created we could have won the game, but we were just unfortunate. It was really hard.

"It just shows that they’re respecting our position, of course coming here they know it’s not going to be an easy game, as usual, but I must say that they stuck to their task and it worked for them.

"But, like I said, if you take your half chances, like we created in the first half, then things can be different. If we'd scored one I think it could have been a different ball game. Unfortunately, we didn’t."

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