DAVID MOYES insists Everton’s failure to sign high-profile reinforcements in January – and his own contract uncertainty – must not be used as excuses for the club’s current slump in form.
The Toffees are bidding to end their recent four-game win-less streak tonight by beating League One side Oldham Athletic at Goodison to secure a place in the FA Cup quarter finals.
Moyes admitted the Latics’ galling late equaliser in the previous fifth round meeting at Boundary Park, and his side’s late defeat by Norwich on Saturday, has hurt the Blues but he refused to blame their struggles on off-field concerns.
Asked whether the lack of signings during the January transfer market has hit morale, he insisted: “You know it would be easy to say yes, the transfer window has had an effect on our performances since, just as it would be very easy to say it has got anything to do with my contract – it would be easy to make those excuses.
“But at the end of the day it’s not had an affect. It’s about the players we have got, and the players we have got have been working great for the past year. The truth is, from January to January we have outperformed most clubs.
“I don’t know how many defeats we’ve had in the past year, but it’s not many and you know something I think there’ll be very few teams with a record similar to us, and very few teams who have done as well as us, so hey – the players may be entitled to a wee dip. As soon as we get a negative result, people are trying to write off our season. I have been expecting somebody to ask me what happens if we don’t get through against Oldham.
“I’d say, look at our situation – how many clubs don’t have anything to play for at this stage of the season? We have, we are still in a really good position. We are sixth in the table, we have a replay in the Cup at home to get into the quarter-final.
“If we’d just gone sixth and had this game to get into the quarter-final, we’d be saying ‘hey, this is good’. So we have to try and look at it in another fashion.”
Everton still have injury doubts over Victor Anichebe for this evening’s replay, and have fresh concerns about Marouane Fellaini who suffered a knee-injury during Saturday’s defeat at Carrow Road.
But while Moyes accepts his decision to delay his contract talks until the summer is something of a gamble if Everton finish the season poorly, he is determined they must deal with the expectations raised by their strong first half of the campaign and keep their silverware dream alive.
He added: “What I’ve said is I want to see, I just want to wait and see where we are, so yeah, maybe it could be seen as me taking a gamble, but I don’t want it to be seen as us making any excuses here over my contract or the transfer window.
“We have no excuses here, we try and take it as men if we can. Yeah we have a moan at the referees, but we try and take what we get on the chin and move on, and try to use it to make us better.
“We have expectation now, and maybe we have noticed it where we’ve played against the teams below us. I didn’t know this, but we’ve not had the results against the teams below us, but we’ve done quite well against the teams who are up there.
“Maybe we are finding we can’t deal with what it is to be the team that is being top and driving through. We have got to learn to deal with that. What tends to come from that is you get moments where people are needed to win you the game, and they will do.
“Also you need to keep your concentration in the end, and that is what we have to do.”