Neville: Toffees too sweet

Neville believes David Moyes’ side can take a lot of pride in the

way they have performed during the second half of the season after

a major injury list affected them before Christmas. But he feels

last night’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa mirrored their fortunes in

recent months with Everton failing to kill off games when in

control. They twice led through Tim Cahill’s brace only for Gabriel

Agbonlahor’s header and an injury-time own goal from Phil Jagielka

meaning they had to settle for a share of the spoils. Neville said:

“We kept the ball well against Villa, had chances to score, and

that has probably been the story of our season really in that we’ve

not finished teams off when we’ve got in winning positions. “That

has been the story, particularly in the last couple of months. Our

main problem, even since Christmas when we’ve played well, is that

we haven’t been as ruthless in front of goal as we should have

been. “It’s games like this one, Wolves twice, Stoke at home, Villa

at home, Birmingham twice, where we have dropped points when, if

you want to get to fourth or fifth place, you’ve got to be beating

those teams. “That’s what we did last season and we’ve not this

time around. We’ve just not won these games. “Last season we beat

all the teams around us and below us and lost to the top-four

sides. It’s been roles reversed this season. We’ve beaten the top

sides and not been clinical enough against the sides below us.”

Neville believes it is important Everton have another crack at

Europe but accepts they will have to win their remaining four games

to have any hope of achieving that goal. He said: “Before the game,

we still thought a point wouldn’t be a bad result but we needed to

win the game. We are not out of it but with four games left now,

the clock is ticking and we are running out of time. “We set our

targets in January. If we win three of our last four games, we will

still probably meet the targets in terms of points. “Hopefully that

will take us into Europe.” Neville has not been surprised by

Everton’s revival – they have lost only two of their last 20 league

games – but believes failing to qualify for Europe will be a major

blow He said: “The run we’ve had has not surprised anyone because

even in November, when we were not playing well, we knew once we

got everyone back fit we had the players and the squad to go on a

run like this. “If you had asked me at the start of the season if

finishing eighth would have been a success, I would have said that

would be a failure. “If you had asked me in November, then

finishing eighth would have probably been a success. “It has been

one of those campaigns where we can take a lot of pride from the

way we have played in the second half of the season. “But the

league table doesn’t lie. You are where you are through your form

during the whole season. “We want European football next season. I

think it will be a major disappointment if we don’t qualify. That

is why the manager keeps challenging us and we have now got to win

the last four games to have any chance.”