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Everton Ladies must take title, says Jody Handley

Uefa Women's Champions League, quarter-final, first leg
Venue: Stobart Stadium, Widnes Date: Thursday, 17 March Kick-off: 1900 GMT Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM, 1485 MW and DAB

Everton Ladies captain Jody Handley
Handley re-joined Everton from Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2004

Everton Ladies captain Jody Handley says the squad are determined to qualify for the 2012 Champions League by winning this year's tournament.

They face German side Duisburg in their quarter-final, first leg on Thursday.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup means the Blues cannot qualify for Europe via domestic competition.

"The incentive is that we can qualify for next year's tournament if we win the competition this year," Handley told BBC Radio Merseyside.

She added: "I think we're confident over the two legs we can beat anyone in the competition.

"It's just about performing on the day and maybe playing smart and not going all guns blazing. We need to keep it tight and nick the odd goal here and there."

Despite the set-back against the Gunners at the weekend, Handley is more than confident her teammates have enough quality to compete for honours this season.

Everton have five current full England internationals in their squad and others who are youth internationals, and the former Doncaster Rovers Belles forward says they have the right blend.

"In the past few seasons we've managed to keep the nucleus of the team together and added a few players along the way, which has strengthened our squad," said Handley.

"We're now at a point where everybody's comfortable with each other. All the younger players are a little more experienced in tournaments and internationally.

"We've got a good blend of youth and experience, so it's just about being more consistent in the games that we play, being in finals and challenging for honours."

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see also
Marley hopes for Everton response
14 Mar 11 |  Women
Holders Everton go out of FA Cup
13 Mar 11 |  Women

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