MAROUANE FELLAINI must learn to cope with opponents who try to unsettle him, warns Sylvain Distin.
The Belgian midfielder is facing a potential ban for head-butting Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross during the second-half of Everton’s 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Fellaini has apologised for the incident while also insisting he was afforded little protection from Stoke’s attempts to nullify his threat by referee Mark Halsey, but Distin believes his teammate must learn to keep his focus regardless.
He said: "He is a good player for us and he’s doing amazingly this season. He keeps scoring goals and if anything happens to him and he gets banned I guess it’ll be a lesson for him.
"We were talking about it before the game with him. Those kinds of game they are going to try and frustrate him and he needs to make sure he doesn’t react badly. It’s a mistake and he will learn from it."
Everton must wait to learn how long they will be without the influential Belgian as the FA review video evidence of the incident, but manager David Moyes was quick to acknowledge his player was in the wrong and will be fined by his club.
"He deserves to get the punishment," said the Blues boss."I’ve seen it, it’s a terrible thing to do and I expect him to be punished.
"It’s down to the FA. I’ve told him it’s not acceptable and whatever he gets, he and us deserve it."
The Blues’ point against Stoke wasn’t enough to keep them in the Premier League top four, but Distin believes the result was fair – even if he was frustrated with his side’s overall display against tough opponents..
He said: "We were a bit disappointed but a point here against a team who have conceded so few goals at home isn’t too bad.
"We feel like we could have played better though. We had two clear chances to win it and I thought we could have played a bit better football. Fair play to Stoke though, they stuck at it and it’s difficult for anyone to go to the Britannia.
"Before the game as you walk through the door and out onto the pitch you can see all their players bending as they go through. They’re big and hard and very organised. They all know what they have to do and they know how to frustrate the opposition."
Distin also called for greater consistency from match officials with regards to Stoke’s physical tactics.
"It’s wrestling, it was tough. It was difficult to run through, they just catch you all the time and grab you." he said.
"I think the ref could have a better look at it. But that is football and it’s going to happen when you come to a place like Stoke."There is just no consistency. That is the problem as a player.Sometimes you get grabbed or blocked and it is not a penalty. Then you see what happened against City when the ref gave them a penalty, and you think ‘there should be a penalty every week’. There is no consistency so it’s a bit frustrating when it’s not going your way."