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Everton FC deserve to be fourth declares David Moyes

AN ASTONISHING 88 seconds when Everton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 triumph also elevated the Blues back into Champions League contention yesterday.

AN ASTONISHING 88 seconds when Everton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 triumph also elevated the Blues back into Champions League contention yesterday.

And delighted David Moyes believes the fourth place his side currently occupies is merited by the performances his players have produced all season.

“The position doesn’t shame the way Everton have been playing or the way the players have been playing. It doesn’t shame them at all,” he declared. “They have been playing that well.

“But you know we could quite easily have slipped down and before we know it we could have been in the bottom half of the league.

“The Premier League is so tight, but it feels good today and we have to make sure we maintain that.

“A game like that can lift you, it shows the belief and persistence we have to keep going and the players showed great character.”

After a promising first half Everton saw the influential Kevin Mirallas come off at half-time with a tight hamstring and then fall behind to a cruelly deflected Clint Dempsey strike just 15 minutes from time.

But goals in time added on by Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic turned the game on its head.

“It had got a bit scrappy and it was possibly our poorest part of the game in that last 10 minutes when we were trying to make changes,” explained Moyes.

“We were trying to push Bainesy wider, we were trying to push Steven Naismith in the middle, we were trying to go three at the back with Gibbo coming to get on the ball and make passes from there, we had tried everything to try and give ourselves an opening but we kept at it and got it in the end.”

Seamus Coleman delivered the cross for Pienaar’s equaliser and the Blues boss added: “I thought Seamus looked great today, the ‘but’ to that is that I thought he had three or four better positions in the first half when he didn’t deliver.

“And I’ve seen the equaliser again and I’m not convinced he was trying to pick Steven Pienaar out!

“But it is a ball which gives us a chance of scoring a goal and Steven Pienaar’s header was terrific from 13 or 14 yards out.”

On the dramatic turnaround he added: “We’ve had a few like that recently that we’ve lost as well so we were due one.

“I remember a season when we used to regularly score late goals and win the games 1-0, around the Tomas Radzinski Andy Johnson time, but recently it’s not been the case.

“If Everton hadn’t won we’d have been saying ‘why not?’

“We played terrifically well, especially in the first half with Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman, the attacking play we had was terrific, we just didn’t find the final pass or the final finish.

“Tottenham got better after 15 minutes of the second half and we had to defend four or five corners and free-kicks, but I thought we were growing into it again when they scored the goal.”

On Mirallas’ injury, the Blues boss said: “We don’t think he’s done his hamstring. It just felt as if it had tightened up completely and it will be a miss because he gave us something in the first half which we missed when he went off.

“We’ll see how it is. We don’t think it’s bad but the last thing you want is a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

“But I thought Naisy came on and kept the ball well, so good on him.

“And I thought Jelavic’s finish was great, to be alert and alive so late on. He gambled on something being nicked through and his finish first time was excellent.

“He’s been getting closer and he looked a bit frustrated because we weren’t getting enough to him, but he kept going and got his reward.”

Moyes wasn’t completely satisfied with everything he witnessed though.

Referee Kevin Friend ignored what looked like a handball in the penalty area by William Gallas and frustrated the home fans with a series of decisions against the Blues.

“I thought we had another difficult day where hardly a thing went for us. Not a thing,” Moyes said.

“You have to win the games. You can’t rely on referees’ decisions going your way and I have to say games are changed by referees’ decisions but we’ve not had any games where the referee has changed the result in Everton’s favour, that’s for sure.”

 

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