Lescott confident Everton can handle African absentees

Joleon Lescott is confident Everton can handle the absence of African stars Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Stephen Pienaar and Joseph Yobo.

He told evertonTV: "We know there is a long way to go to match the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea but we are not that far behind them now in the league. Beating Man City proves we are capable of defeating the teams around us. That was a massive game for us and we are ahead of them now.

"The gaffer did a great job in pre-season getting the players in to make sure we have the options if we lose a lot of players, which we have because of the African Cup of Nations."

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