JOHN HEITINGA admits Everton owe their supporters a performance against Southampton on Saturday after their Capital One Cup calamity.
David Moyes’s side saw their most likely chance of silverware dashed at the second hurdle with a disappointing 2-1 third round loss at npower Championship side Leeds United on Tuesday night.
Almost 5,000 supporters made the trek along the M62 in treacherous conditions only to see a much-changed Goodison outfit fail to take advantage of their excellent early-season form.
Everton will look to strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier League when Southampton visit at the weekend.
And Heitinga said: "We need to bounce back now not only for ourselves but especially for the fans.
"There were 5,000 Evertonians in the stadium at Leeds and the support was really good.
"We were the ones who lost the game, not them.
"It was the shortest way to get a prize, but now we are out of the competition we need to focus on the league.
"We can’t dwell on this game.
"I don’t think it’s going to be so easy against Southampton.
"It’s always hard when you are in the top division."
Moyes is expected to recall the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Tim Howard to the starting line-up against the Saints.
And Heitinga is convinced Tuesday’s surprise reverse will not halt Everton’s Premier League momentum.
"We need to focus on the next couple of games and need to bounce back now," added the Dutchman.
"The confidence is still in the team.
"We’ve played some good football in the last couple of months and we are near the top of the league and we want to stay there."
Moyes made six changes for the trip to Elland Road, handing full debuts to Costa Rica left-back Bryan Oviedo and young Portuguese midfielder Francisco Junior.
And he accepts he may not have altered the team as much had he known the performance his team would produce.
"I regret making six changes because we are out of the cup," said Moyes.
"But if you look at the players that came in, you could argue that some of them could have been starting the last three or four Premier League games."
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s home game against Southampton, priced at £31 for adults and half-price for juniors.
Supporters wanting to buy a ticket can call 0871 663 1878, visit evertonfc.com/eticketing or drop into the Box Office at Goodison Park.
They can also now buy tickets from TicketQuarter in Queen Square or the brand new ticket kiosk at Everton Two in Liverpool One.
Meanwhile, Everton fans can share a coffee with Everton legend Graeme Sharp on Friday and help to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
Everton in the Community is hosting a coffee morning is part of MacMillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning campaign, and local residents can drop into Gwladys Street School from 9am-10:30am on Friday to enjoy coffee, cake and a chat with the the club’s leading post-war goalscorer.
Sharp said: "Undoubtedly, cancer has touched everybody in some way so it’s important that we do what we can to raise money to help those affected.
"This is a really simple way to raise a lot of money so I hope lots of people get behind it and pop down for coffee and cake!"