Distin: Pompey Cup high makes my howler tougher to take

Former Pompey defender Sylvain Distin, left, made a mistake which allowed Luis Suarez, centre, to level for Liverpool
Former Pompey defender Sylvain Distin, left, made a mistake which allowed Luis Suarez, centre, to level for Liverpool
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Sylvain Distin admitted tasting FA Cup glory with Pompey made his costly error in this year’s semi-final against Liverpool even tougher to take.

With his Everton side 1-0 up against their biggest rivals in Saturday’s last-four clash at Wembley, the former Blues defender’s horror back pass on 62 minutes was too short, allowing Luis Suarez a clear run on goal to slot home Liverpool’s equaliser.

It was a howler from which Everton never recovered, with Kenny Dalglish’s men sealing a final spot against Chelsea on May 5 after Andy Carroll’s 86th-minute winner.

The nightmare afternoon was a far cry from Distin’s last Cup appearance at the home of football, when the Frenchman’s rock-solid defensive display helped Pompey lift the famous silverware in a 1-0 win over Cardiff.

Four years on, though, there were no Wembley celebrations in the blue of Everton for the 34-year-old.

And Distin conceded memories of when Sol went up to lift the Cup left him even more distraught at missing out this time around.

In a brutal assessment of his error, an emotional Distin told The News: ‘I know what it is to win the Cup and this time is a total extreme to how I felt before.

‘Four years ago I was on such a high when I won the Cup but now I have made the mistake and it’s two completely different feelings.

‘I know I’ve cost my team-mates, the fans and the club. My family was there as well and I’ve cost everyone a place in the final. I have to deal with that.

‘I’m not hard on myself, I’m just realistic – that pass has cost us the game.

‘I have to face it. I never hide, no matter how bad things are. I take the blame.

‘I do passes like that 50 times a season but I did it in the wrong game.

‘I’m disappointed with myself and feel like I’ve let my team-mates down.’

Despite Leighton Baines claiming the dry Wembley pitch had a part to play in Distin’s mistake, the Frenchman refused to hide behind his fellow Everton defender’s comments.

Distin said: ‘I can use 50,000 excuses but I missed the pass and that’s the fact.

‘I cost us the goal and I cost us the game because that changed the game.

‘I realise where we could have been and I feel responsible. I keep having flashbacks about this bad decision.

‘For me, the consequences are that we are not going to the final which is very disappointing.’

In the previous round of our Road to Wembley feature – where we have followed a team at every stage right back to Moneyfields’ extra-preliminary tie in August – Distin had excelled in the 1-1 draw against Sunderland.

Pompey fans will know all about his abilities at the back after a hugely-successful spell at Fratton Park from 2007 to 2009.

And while, Saturday aside, he has been just as impressive for Everton, the defender remains just as classy with his attitude off the pitch.

Making sure he faced up to his torrid afternoon by dealing with the media, Distin also took time to reflect on Pompey’s plight since he left the south coast for Goodison Park.

He added: ‘It’s a difficult situation (at Pompey).

‘It’s not the kind of place where I want to see the club.

‘When we all left, the club was in a bad position but I thought leaving would help them a lot.

‘It didn’t and it seems like they still have big problems.

‘It’s disappointing. I still have a few friends over there and I wish them the best.’