Moyes still seeking Toffees improvement
David Moyes is looking for Everton to rediscover their clinical
touch as they attempt to climb away from the Premier League’s
The Toffees extended their unbeaten run to four games with a
1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday, and, with their crippling
injury problems finally starting to ease, are starting to look
upwards rather than over their shoulders.
However, on Monday they face promoted Burnley, who have
proved formidable at home but less effective on their travels, at
Goodison Park seeking a first win in any competition on their own
pitch since defeating Blackburn on September 20 – a run of eight
Six of those have come in the league, and although only derby
rivals Liverpool have won there, that sequence of fixtures has
yielded just five points.
After seeing his team last keep a home clean sheet against
Rovers three months ago, manager Moyes believes Everton must be
more ruthless in front of goal to take three points. He said: “At
home, we have struggled a little bit recently. We have not turned
draws into victories, so we have to do that.
“In some of the games – Birmingham last week as well – we
have dominated the majority of it, but gave them one chance and
“It looks like we are going to have to score more than one
goal at this present time to win, and that’s what our problem has
been, we have not been doing that.”
One goal at the Stadium of Light was enough to claim a point,
although the visitors had to wait 85 minutes to get some reward for
a performance which improved the longer it went on. Leon Osman had
already struck a post and Louis Saha twice in quick succession
failed to hit the target after being played into promising
positions when Sunderland took a 17th-minute lead.
Kenwyne Jones found space on the right to deliver an inviting
cross for strike-partner Darren Bent, who left the makeshift
central defensive pairing of John Heitinga and Lucas Neill
flat-footed to head home his 11th goal of the season.
Indeed, Bent could have claimed a hat-trick inside the
opening 21 minutes as the home side, themselves looking to improve
upon a run of just one win in nine league outings, started
But inspired by Moyes’ half-time warning that he would be
disappointed if his side only ended up with a point, Everton
returned in determined fashion and went close through Marouane
Fellaini and Saha as the home side dropped ever deeper in an
attempt to preserve their lead.
They finally claimed their reward with five minutes remaining
when Fellaini controlled Tony Hibbert’s cross and blasted a shot
into the roof of the net.
Moyes, for all his interval warning, was satisfied with a
point and delighted with the performance which earned it.
“It was a reward for how the players have played in the last
week or two,” he said. “We have played much better and looked more
like ourselves, and in Marouane Fellaini, we have probably got the
best midfield player in the country at the moment.
“He is outstanding the way he is playing. He was exceptional
on Saturday and his goal was deserved for the way he played.”
There was a welcome sight for the travelling fans on Wearside
as Phil Neville took a seat on the bench on his return from the
knee injury he suffered in September. He was not used after getting
just a day’s training under his belt, but could figure if required
Moyes said: “He came in on Christmas morning and said he
would like to come (to Sunderland).
“He had trained the day before and felt he was okay, so I got
him on the bus right away.”
But asked if anyone else is likely to return for the Burnley
game, Moyes joked: “Graeme Sharp, Peter Reid – they are both
“I would settle for them both at the moment, take it from me.
“They would certainly get me my goals and make sure we were at it
in midfield, that’s for sure.”