Phil Neville praises Everton defensive display against QPR

The Toffess' captain joined team-mate Phil Jagielka in hailing his side's battling qualities as they held out for a 1-1 draw against the relegation-threatened R's at Loftus Road

Phil Neville commended Everton’s resilience after his side held out for a 1-1 draw at QPR despite being reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of Steven Pienaar.

The Toffees went behind to an early Junior Hoillet goal, only for Julio Cesar to knock Sylvain Distin’s header into his own net for the equaliser.

The R’s came roaring back, and the club skipper applauded his team-mate’s defensive work following Pienaar's removal to keep their quest for a Champions League place on course.

"I think with Steven Pienaar getting sent off it was backs-to-the-wall - we knew QPR were going to be fighting for their lives today, they needed the points," the 35-year-old to Sky Sports.

"I think we can play better but I think today we showed other qualities. Today was always going to be a game where our centre-backs were so important, and the two centre backs and two full-backs were rocks today. They [QPR] have got big centre forwards and we've had to defend well."

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"It's probably the first time this season we've really had to dig in and sacrifice a lot of our attacking play so we go into next week's derby [with Liverpool] full of confidence."

Neville's sentiments were echoed by team-mate Phil Jagielka, who believes QPR's current league position contradicts the strength of their squad.

"We know they've got a fantastic squad here, they're just lacking a little bit of confidence," the defender added.

"It's what happens early on in the season if you don't pick up the wins when the opportunities are there you do get a little bit nervous."

"Fair play to them, they threw everything at us tonight but like I said with the 10 men we did a very professional job."