Moyes: Toffees’ season sill alive

A dismal loss at Bolton last weekend left the Toffees just three

points above the Premier League relegation zone and highlighted the

inconsistency which has hampered their frustrating campaign. The FA

Cup would appear to offer Moyes the best hope of salvaging

something from a season which promised much but the Scot does not

want to view it that way. Everton face a stern test in the fourth

round of the competition after fighting out a 1-1 draw with the

holders when they initially met at Goodison Park three weeks ago.

Moyes said: “It is no different from the way I felt a few weeks

ago. “If you ask, ‘Does this make or break your season, is this

your season over?’ – that’s a load of rubbish. “The season is never

over, you have got to play all the games that are put in front of

you. “Hopefully we will keep going through and get as far as we can

but if we get knocked out, we get knocked out. “We still have to

play our league games and with the position we are in, we need to

pick up more points. “The cup becomes important but no more

important than it was before.” Moyes is demanding a response from

his team after a performance at the Reebok Stadium he described as

one of the worst in his nine years at the club. The Scot took full

responsibility for the 2-0 defeat but said he might need to

“toughen up” on the players. He added: “We have tended to respond

after a bad game, tended to do something about it. Let’s hope we do

that again. “I think up until the game at Bolton we hadn’t done an

awful lot wrong. “Obviously we would like to be further up the

league but I think we have been playing fine. “If we can put the

Reebok last Sunday away and move on and play the way we have been,

we’ll be Okay. “You want to get through but it is tough. The tie

has turned in the favour of Chelsea because we have to go down

there and we know how hard that is. “No-one should under-estimate

them, they are a very good side.” Chelsea have won the FA Cup for

the past two seasons – beating Everton in the 2009 final – and not

lost in the competition since a shock defeat by Barnsley in the

2008 quarter-finals. Their current form, however, remains

indifferent and, with them slipping behind the pace in the Premier

League, Moyes is hoping they are now making the Champions League

their top priority. The Londoners face Copenhagen in the last-16

stage of that competition on Tuesday while they still have much to

do to guarantee qualification for it next year. Moyes said: “I

think they are admitting the Champions League is the thing they are

aiming for. “It does look as if the league may be beyond them, but

they will also have a challenge to make sure they are in a

Champions League position. I don’t think they could ever afford to

let that go. “They haven’t lost an FA Cup game for a few years now

so, let’s put it in perspective – it is a really tough job. “But it

is hard for those clubs to keep competing on all fronts and let’s

hope they decide the FA Cup is the one they are not that keen on.”

Everton are without their goalscorer from the first game, Louis

Saha, who is still troubled by a hamstring injury. Midfielder Jack

Rodwell is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a groin problem

but the game comes too soon. Moyes said: “There are going to be

periods in the game when we have to dig deep, hang in and stick

with it but there is a bit of confidence in our play and we saw

that when we played them at Goodison. “We need to have a similar

performance, maybe with a bit more luck.”