DAVID MOYES has challenged Marouane Fellaini to follow the example of Lionel Messi when it comes to coping with being targeted by opponents.

The Everton boss wants his influential midfielder to remain calm under provocation like the Barcelona star, and learn the lesson of his three-game suspension for head-butting Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross last month.

Fellaini – who has again apologised for the flash-point which saw him fined heavily by Everton – also insists he is happy at the Toffees and is not looking for a transfer.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Newcastle when Fellaini is set to return for the Blues, Moyes said: “The best person you have to look at is Lionel Messi. Every person targets him, every person tries to kick him and every person tries to stop him and they’ll do everything.

“But all he ever does is get up and get on with it. That’s the sign of a top player. It says to people ‘whatever you do, it doesn’t affect me’.

“The best in the world is Lionel Messi who gets physically attacked every game by people trying to stop him, but he keeps doing what he’s doing.

“I tell Felli that you just have to get on with it. If I was playing against Felli I’d try and wind him up. Anybody would. That’s what happens with good players.”

Moyes, who will assess where to deploy the 25-year-old at St James’ Park with the news of Darron Gibson’s injury, insists he has no deep concerns about the player’s character.

And he said he was heartened at how his side coped in the Belgian’s absence.

“He’ll certainly be back in the squad. Whether he comes straight back in, I’ll have a look at it. But we played quite well in his absence, Victor and Jelavic have played okay.

“We won two and lost one and that’s better than drawing three games. We’ve been drawing a lot lately, so that was better. And the one we lost we were a bit unfortunate. We have done okay with what we had.

“I felt as if he let us down. But that is in the past now. We have moved on. He has paid his punishment for it and we have as well.

“I don’t have any concerns about his character overall. He’s actually a really good lad. But something he’s going to have to be careful and mindful of is that people are going to pay more attention to him.

“It’s not as if you can miss him that easily. That’s what I was annoyed with. When you are that easily recognisable and seen, how can you ever think you are ever going to get away with anything?”

Fellaini himself remains contrite about the incident at the Britannia stadium, and told reports in Belgium that he is happy at Everton.

He said: “Normally I am a very honest player, but that was just frustration at Stoke.

“Ryan Shawcross was pushing and pulling me the whole game, and, in the end, I just exploded.

“But I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry for what I did. The punishment was right. I can’t complain about that.

“I have a contract with Everton until 2016, and, if the club want, I will see that out. I know I am hot, and I want to move forward one day, but I will finish my Everton contract if they want me to.

“I am living in Manchester now, because in Liverpool, the women were crawling for me. It was too much. In Manchester, people don’t recognise me that much and tend to treat me in a more respectful way. I don’t want to be a star. I just want to play football.”