DAVID MOYES admitted that Everton met their match at Old Trafford for the first time this season yesterday.
Manchester United inflicted only Everton’s fourth defeat of the campaign – but the Blues boss believed that it was the first time they had been beaten by a better side in 2012/13.
“Today’s about the only game this season where a better team has beaten us. I don’t think we’ve had any other game like that this season,” he said.
“We kept going but it wasn’t enough in the end.
“We weren’t good enough to beat them. They were better than us today.
“We got off to a bad start which didn’t help.
“I thought at times we had quite good control of the game in the first half, but individual errors cost us, there was a little bit of that.”
Moyes revealed that his preparation was seriously undermined when defender Sylvain Distin fell sick just half an hour before kick-off.
“I didn’t know until about 25 past three. It was maybe five or 10 minutes before they were due to go out for the warm up,” he explained.
“He’d felt sick during the night but really thought he was going to be all right, but probably felt unwell when he started to get ready.
“It wasn’t how we’d worked to start the game and it wasn’t how we prepared, but I think much of it was down to how Manchester United started. They had a plan with Phil Jones man-marking Marouane Fellaini.
“They set out their stall to make sure we weren’t going to be able to do what we wanted to do and they started better than us.
“They tried to make sure that Felli couldn’t find any free space between the back four and the midfield. Wherever he went Phil Jones followed and in the end we pulled him out wide to try and get the shackles off him and try and get Steven Pienaar in behind and I have to say I thought we had a lot of the ball.
“I don’t know what the stats will show … but, hey, they mean nothing.
“It’s all right having the ball on the halfway line, you want it in the penalty box to score and we didn’t do that often enough.”
Despite falling six points behind Tottenham in the hunt for Champions League qualification next season, Moyes refused to throw in the towel and insisted his players will keep battling.
“We’re not in a bad position,” he said.
“This is our fourth defeat of the season, I think Man United have had three defeats so you would have to say Everton are doing okay.
“I thought the players today kept going and didn’t give in. I thought their attitude was terrific.
“We tried to change to get solutions to get more chances and more opportunities and the players kept doing the right things. Great credit to them.
“If you’d have given me two draws against United this season I’d have said ‘two points? That’s great.’
“But you know we’ve actually taken three points off Manchester United this season so that’s even better.
“We’ve not done badly against them this season. We’re in a good position and the players have performed brilliantly well.
“But today I thought United played as if they meant it.
“They didn’t play as if they were thinking about a midweek game that’s for sure.
“I thought Manchester United tackled and competed, especially in the first half.
“They were really competitive and we didn’t compete enough.
“We had a lot of the ball and got pretty close to their box, but when we gave it away they were always a threat on the break with Wayne and van Persie.
“We didn’t do enough when we were in the final third.
“We didn’t have enough creativity or do enough to make the goalkeeper make enough saves.”