DAVID MOYES is standing by misfiring striker Louis Saha, after the French forward racked up a remarkable 22nd Premier League appearance without a goal at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Saha’s last league goals came 10 months ago against Chelsea, and after Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi prevented him from breaking that duck, Moyes explained that it was the player’s attitude in training which was earning him selection ahead of Yakubu and Jermaine Beckford.
“I think Louis is working hard to try and get back to the level he was at. I see him every day and he is working hard,” explained the Blues boss.
“Maybe people will wonder why (I pick him), but I get to see him working and have a little bit of an idea that he can offer other things to the team.
“He had a really good chance just before we took him off.
“I thought ‘here’s an opportunity for you to get your goal’ but it never went in.
“Everyone knows he needs a goal.”
The atmosphere at Goodison during a frustrating afternoon was increasingly tense and anxious, but Moyes added that only the players could change that.
“I said to the players today we need to be the ones to get the supporters clapping because we don’t expect them to come in at this time of year and clap us after our results,” he explained.
“But I thought the players really did try to do that, they went out with that intention and you could see it from the first few minutes, but it started to drain away from us and the crowd when we didn’t get the goal.
“I questioned the players’ attitude after the last home game against West Brom, but that certainly wasn’t the problem today.
“They went for it, tried to win it and were industrious without having the quality which was required . . . . actually I don’t know if it was quality, we just missed blatant chances.
“I don’t know if you get better in the Premier League than we got today.
“We had three or four opportunities but the longer we didn’t take them, obviously the more frustrated we were getting and the more anxiety came into our play and the crowd.
“We just have to take those chances.
“The crowd know that we’ve been here before and been in a similar situation.
“I think the worrying thing is we are not beating teams at Goodison who, over the years, we have done.
“That’s a concern.
“I’m looking and I’m asking ‘Is it something else other than not scoring goals?’ and I think I’m finding it hard to look any further than that really.
“It wasn’t just the centre-forwards today.
“Seamus Coleman had a great chance, Steven Pienaar had a chance, Louis got in as well, Tim Cahill in the first-half.
“I think there were chances shared around the team today – and nobody converted any of them.
“We tried to build on the performance at Chelsea last week with a steady and solid performance at home but we didn’t take our chances.”
Moyes also held his hand up for a series of substitutions which failed to provide the necessary improvement.
“After half-time we started really well but after Steven Pienaar came off we never really got back to that level again,” he added.
“I made changes with 20 minutes to go and I thought we were worse then than at any other time in the game.
“I thought we looked more open and looked a poorer team.
“My substitutions today were poor.
“As a manager I made the wrong choices and I will look at what I’ve done and see if I can make them better next time.”
One of those substitutes, striker Victor Anichebe, was booed when he came on after reports claiming he had rejected a £30,000 a week contract offer from the club.
“I didn’t know what the crowd reaction was about until I got told,” said Moyes.
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