Moyes relishes tough run-in
Sat, 06 Apr 2013 13:13:00
David Moyes claims the more high-profile games the better for Everton - although the Toffees chief would be happy staying under the Champions League radar for another couple of weeks.
The battle to claim a coveted top-four berth has crystallised into discussion over who will get squeezed out from the London trio of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Yet such debate completely ignores the challenge coming from Merseyside.
For not only are an improving Liverpool mounting an assault, so too are Everton.
Indeed, presently six points behind with a game in hand, Everton would move to within striking distance if they were able to overcome Spurs at White Hart Lane tomorrow.
It is a situation Moyes relishes. But he is not ready to blow his side's cover just yet.
"If we are in the middle of April and people start to talk us up, that will do me nicely because it will mean we are coming into the final furlong with a chance. If we could somehow get our head in front that would be great."
With visits to Arsenal and Chelsea still ahead of them, Moyes concedes his side will have to do it the hard way.
However, games of such significance have not been in plentiful enough supply at Everton down the years.
And Moyes is happy to take them on.
"High-pressure games are what we have been craving," he said.
"Partly because we have not been good enough, or won the games that mattered, we have not had as many as we would like.
"I do accept it is much harder for us because we have got all those teams to play away from home, so of all those who have a chance of getting into Europe, we are certainly the underdogs.
"But we go into this period in good form and with a lot of confidence."
The absence of Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar through suspension balances out the ankle injury that will prevent Gareth Bale from being involved.
Moyes is also wary of a strong Tottenham squad, who have had plenty of investment lavished upon it in a bid to reclaim a Champions League place.
However, if there is an advantage for the Merseysiders, it comes from the potential for anxiety within the Spurs camp as they find themselves getting hunted down by opponents they did not see coming.
"I have been there myself," he said.
"I have been chased down. It is not easy.
"But Tottenham have invested heavily in their squad to try and win the Champions League.
"There is a lot at stake now. But we have tended to be strong coming into this stage of the season.
"I always remember the year we did qualify for the Champions League we had to win one big game on the run-in and we beat Manchester United at home.
"We are a little bit behind that. We are not expected to get there.
"But we might have to win one or two on the road if we are going to have a chance of making it."