DAVID MOYES insists Everton are still top four contenders despite admitting his frustration at the failure to boost their ambitions via the January transfer window.
The Blues abandoned their £8.6m bid to land Dutch international Leroy Fer on Wednesday after his medical revealed knee problems, and then failed in an ambitious late pursuit of Sevilla’s Spain international striker Alvaro Negredo.
Speaking ahead of today’s clash with Aston Villa, Moyes expressed his regret that the club did not act sooner in the window instead of being left with a race against time on Thursday, but maintained he still has every faith in his current squad even if he desperately wanted to bolster it.
He said: “We are short. We said before the window that we’re short of what we want and we tried – but it didn’t happen and that’s the situation we have to deal with.
“I would say we are one of the contenders for the top four, for sure. It’s a question of keeping at what we’re doing.
“I don’t think we need to dwell on why the deal for Fer didn’t work – and we had a go for the boy from Spain but for different reasons it didn’t work out. It wasn’t for the want of trying. If there is any criticism then maybe we could have tried a little bit earlier.”
Moyes declined to elaborate on the reasons why Everton, who landed £3m Barnsley defender John Stones on the final day of January, were not active earlier in the month – and when asked if it was because funds were only made available late, he said: “I wouldn’t say that.
“But in the end we did, and we tried, we just didn’t quite get them.”
Asked whether the lack of big-name arrivals to boost Everton’s Champions League credentials would effect his decision to sign a new contract, the Scot said: “I wouldn’t discuss it, we’re only a day over it, but we’re concerned we didn’t add to what we got because I wanted to give the players something extra.”
The Toffees boss added that he made sure the Blues did not panic-buy as they attempted to find new signings while the clock ticked down.
“We didn’t go scatter gun at the end when we didn’t get Leroy Fer, but we tried to add some good players who would make a difference, and if that didn’t happen we looked at bringing in young players who could be ones for the future and add value which we did,” he said.
“The chairman and the chief executive were both on record as saying we didn’t have much money to spend so no one could be surprised, but at least we tried to give it a go
“We are disappointed obviously, Fer is a top player and it’s a shame it turned out like that, but we are still one of the contenders to be in the top half and in and around the top four.
“We just have to get our heads down and play on –we had a good January so it’s a case of keeping our heads down, keep plugging away and see if we can do that in February as well and try to cling on in there.
“There is disappointment, but it doesn’t alter now this team has been playing and what this team has been doing, and we have to ensure we keep doing that until the end of the season and see where it takes us.”