Next Match:

Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton,

The Mail on Sunday



Crisis, what crisis? Sir Alex Ferguson changed half the Manchester United team shamed 6-1 last Sunday and the response was a dogged clean sheet and victory to send out an important message to noisy neighbours Manchester City.

You would never have guessed by the absence of emotion on Ferguson's face when Javier Hernandez volleyed what proved to be the winner but this was a crucial victory for the champions.

The way Manchester City took them apart at Old Trafford was a humiliation never previously suffered in his 25 years at the club. The response was to go back to basics, with a twist.

Rio Ferdinand, Nani and Anderson were axed and captain Nemanja Vidic returned for his first Premier League game since August. But most significantly of all, Rooney - the goal machine seemingly destined to become the record goalscorer for United and England - was deployed deep in midfield to make his team harder to break down.

'The fact is we have conceded so many chances recently and we have to reduce that if we are going to win the [Premier] League,' said Ferguson. 'And today we didn't have any problems.'

The plan worked well. Rooney's role, so deep he was often standing behind Tom Cleverley, meant United lacked their usual thrilling intent in attack. But having shipped so many goals recently, they were delighted to reduce Everton to half-chances, except for a Leighton Baines freekick that hit the crossbar.

'Resolute', was the description of United's performance by beaten manager David Moyes, while Ferguson reiterated his view that last weekend's setback was never going to be terminal.

'What you see in the League at the moment may not be the same come May,' he said. 'We hope and expect to be up there at the end of the season, there is no question of that.'

There is no doubt that the fact Everton were missing the injured Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin and Tim Cahill, with Royston Drenthe suspended, helped United.

Ferguson's team selection suggested adventure with Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Rooney named in the same starting line-up for the first time. The reality was different and the performance was determined rather than dazzling.

Hernandez operated as a lone striker, Rooney played nearer the centre circle than the penalty area, as if auditioning for the Paul Scholes role long-term.

'It surprised us to see him there, and we were outnumbered in midfield to begin with,' admitted Moyes. Ironically, it was one of Rooney's rare sorties into the Everton penalty area that helped produce the goal. Smart touches by Cleverley and Welbeck released the excellent Patrice Evra down the left and he struck a beautifully shaped cross into the penalty area.

Rooney ran to the near post and he failed to connect with his head but his distracting presence allowed Hernandez to find a yard of space inside the six-yard box. It was all the Mexican needed and his volley gave Tim Howard no hope.

Instead of folding, Everton pressed and the champions dug in. Hernandez bravely broke from the wall to take the impact of a fierce Louis Saha free-kick. Jack Rodwell shot wide and, after Darren Fletcher sent Marouane Fellaini tumbling, Baines curled a free-kick against the crossbar with David de Gea rooted to the spot.

Everton tried to apply more pressure in the second half and a flying De Gea made an unorthodox save from Rodwell with his face. There was a late panic in the United penalty area when Evra and Phil Jones got in each other's way, but Rodwell was off-target. In attack, United created little. When Cleverley released Hernandez in the second half, the Mexican looked around for support - only to see Rooney sticking to his post near the centre circle.

'We rode our luck with the freekick that hit the bar. But we battled in the second half and got the result we wanted,' said Ferguson. Next weekend, Ferguson will celebrate his silver jubilee at United and a 75-foot banner will be unfurled at the Stretford End proclaiming: 'The impossible dream, made possible'.

Winning a 20th title may indeed be possible for United. But it might not be pretty to watch.

Sunday Express



SCRAP the obituaries, put away the black borders, send the mourners packing.

It might not have been vintage fare but Manchester United are back in Premier League business.

After the sky blue goal rush which humiliated the red half of the city last weekend, a defence minus Rio Ferdinand put up the shutters. United's former skipper was handed the dunce's cap for the Old Trafford capitulation, banished to the substitutes' bench.

The surprise, and one which had many United followers Tweeting in disgust, was a reprieve for Jonny Evans whose one-match ban for hauling Mario Balotelli to the ground was served in the midweek Carling Cup trip to Aldershot.

But Evans, together with the formidable figure of Nemanja Vidic, allied to good work from David de Gea and some assistance from the woodwork, kept a diligent Everton at bay.
After declaring the 6-1 derby defeat against Manchester City as his worst day in football, manager Sir Alex Ferguson went for pragmatism rather than a spirit of endeavour.

It wasn't exactly footballing eye candy, more a bag of old boiled sweets, but the taste of victory comes through all different ingredients.

Everton must have sensed this was the opportunity to improve their woeful Goodison Park record against Ferguson's men.

‘Little Pea' Javier Hernandez's first-half strike, though, means Everton have only won three of 20 Premier League games here, wonderfully stuck in a time warp.

United, thanks to Ferguson's stewardship, which celebrates 25 years next weekend, have been immersed in success. But that bolt out of the sky blue last week offered a reminder that United at times are vulnerable and that a new giant of the game might be stirring.

United, though, won't hand over their title crown - especially to rivals just a few miles down the road - without an almighty scrap.

Yesterday it was an occasion for leaving the party frocks at home and donning the working overalls, especially with Everton coming out of the starting blocks with energy and intent, Seamus Coleman forcing De Gea to a save after just 16 seconds.

United took the sting out of Everton's enterprising start by employing Wayne Rooney in a deeper midfield role, the former Toffee splaying Charltonesque passes to all angles. It was United's brightest spell and one in which they scored.

Rooney might not have been instrumental in Hernandez's clinical finish but his constant probing seemed to unnerve Everton as they began to give the ball away far too easily.

Another loose pass was seized by a United side seeking redemption and neat interplay between Danny Welbeck and Patrice Evra saw the Frenchman's cross eagerly gobbled up by Hernandez, criminally unmarked well inside the six-yard box.

Anyone expecting United to surge on hadn't banked on Everton's street-fighting skills - ones which deserved a point.

With Marouane Fellaini putting in a decent shift, Everton created moments of danger, none more so when Leighton Baines rattled the bar from a free-kick just outside the area.

Louis Saha wasted a couple of good opportunities while De Gea kept out everything that Everton threw at him, even denying Jack Rodwell's fierce effort involuntarily with his face.

The rock that was Vidic repelled all invaders with Ferguson desperate to slow the flow of chances which, if not checked, could undermine his club's ambitions this season.

Ferguson said: "It was a fantastic performance by Vidic. Every ball that came into the box he got clear and that's his speciality. He is a fantastic header of the ball and that was key to us.

"The fact that there have been so many chances against us in games has been a worry. We have to reduce that if we are going to win the league."

Everton boss David Moyes maintained: "We were unlucky not to have got at least a point. I felt my players did a great job but maybe we didn't have enough quality in the final third of the field.

"We were up against a Manchester United side determined to do well after what happened to them last week."

No one would argue against that.

Sunday Mirror



Phil Neville thinks Fabio Capello will have a massive problem on his hands if the FA doesn't act quickly to end the race-row crisis.

The England boss names his squad for the double-header with Spain and Sweden in six days' time - and Neville is worried about a rift between star defenders Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

Terry is accused of hurling racist abuse at Rio's brother Anton during Chelsea's fiery derby with QPR last week.

And Neville fears a nightmare atmosphere in the Three Lions squad unless the row is defused.

"We don't want JT and Rio having that between them, so it's got to be dealt with," he said.

"It's rumbling on and on and someone somewhere has to deal with it. It has to be nipped in the bud. Something's happened, deal with it and let's get on with the England games.

"But if it's not been dealt with by this Saturday when the England squad is announced, well...

"If it had been dealt with straight away, people wouldn't still be asking what's going to happen in the England squad between John Terry and Rio.

"Every day, you read something different about it. So, let's put an end to it."

If the FA inquiry reveals evidence that Anton was racially abused, brotherly love would almost inevitably prevent Rio from lining up alongside Terry in the England defence.

And, of course, Neville - who is an ambassador for the Kick It Out campaign - knows all about fraternal loyalty.

He said: "Should brothers stick together? One hundred per cent.

"There's rivalry between Rio and Anton - just like there was between me and Gary - but you help each other out because, at the end of the day, blood's thicker than water."

Phil appeared with Gary in many England games - and doesn't see why the Ferdinand brothers might not go on to achieve a similar feat.

"Anton's saying he'd love to play for England," he said.

"Maybe he's saying he'd love to play in the same team with his brother first and foremost.

"I think Anton's improved in his QPR performances - he's playing really well.

"But centre-half is a difficult position in the England team, we have strength in depth, so he has a massive fight on his hands.

"When I moved from Man United to Everton, not playing with Gary was the biggest thing I'd ever had to overcome.

"He's my best friend, so not going to work with him every day was a massive gap in my life. I've always found in my relationship with my brother that it's never been a hindrance.

"And Rio's helped Anton through the years, I'm sure. It's difficult because I like JT.

"But, at the moment, there is a lot of rumours and speculation.

"Until someone tells me anyone is guilty, I'm not going to believe the hullabaloo.

"If anyone is found guilty of such a thing, though, there should be the severest punishment."

Sunday Mirror



Phil Neville says he would take his Everton players off the pitch if he heard one of them being racially abused by an opponent.

English football has been rocked by the Suarez-Evra and Terry-Ferdinand incidents, with the FA probing allegations of racism.

But the Toffees skipper wouldn't wait for an inquiry - he'd force a game to be called off.

Neville said: "If, as a captain, I heard (a racist comment) on the field - or from fans - I'd think about taking my team off. I'd make a stand like that. It's important.

"If I went to Bulgaria, say, as England captain and the level of abuse was so strong, I would want the team to come off. For me, it's the ultimate sin.

"There was the Emre-Joleon Lescott incident when everybody heard it.

"But it got swept under the carpet. Nothing got done about it.

"What I don't understand is why have we got these campaigns like Kick It Out, which I support one hundred per cent, if no one is going to act on it?

"This is what absolutely baffles me.

"There's not much point in taking a stand off the pitch if nothing happens when an ugly incident comes up.

"When something happens on the pitch, we must act on it.

"Which is why I think that now is the time to act on it by doing something like a captain - or a manager - taking his team off the pitch."

Sunday Mirror



Sir Alex Ferguson wants to airbrush the Manchester City mauling from the club's consciousness and yesterday's hard-earned victory will certainly help begin that process.

Fergie demanded his players immediately forget last Sunday's 6-1 humiliation and "get back to being the real United".

Well, there are two real Uniteds - the all-out, attacking version and the resilient, well-organised one. Yesterday at Goodison Park, we witnessed the solid, grittier United.

The fact that the star of the show was Nemanja Vidic tells its own story. United have missed their captain this season.

"It was a fantastic performance by Vidic," said Sir Alex.

"He cleared every ball that came into our box - and that's his speciality."

Last Sunday was the worst day of Fergie's career. But his teams have been written off many times in the past - and have still come up with the silverware in May.

If they are to topple their noisy neighbours this time around they need to be more resilient.

Which is why Fergie responded to the City drubbing by dropping Rio Ferdinand and Nani to the bench. Wayne Rooney was pushed into central midfield and Tom Cleverley was recalled for his first league start since September 10.

But it was the return of Vidic that had the Scot in raptures.

He said: "He's a fantastic header of the ball and that was key for us today.

"The fact there have been so many chances against us recently, we have to reduce that if we are going to win the league. We have to reduce those types of chances against us - and today we didn't have any problems."

It wasn't particularly pretty, but this rare victory on the blue half of Merseyside sent a clear message to the rest of the Premier League. Everton boss David Moyes has lost key players through injury and suspension, and there were some tired legs on display after a midweek battle with Chelsea.

Still, coming to Everton is never easy, and this first United win at the ground for four years was well deserved.

Until he hobbled off the pitch after 55 minutes, Cleverley linked up brilliantly with Rooney to run proceedings.

The England Under-21 international started the move that led to the winner.

Cleverley passed to Patrice Evra, who played a neat one-two with Danny Welbeck.

Evra's swinging cross found the unmarked Mexican striker, who had plenty of time and space to coolly slot home his fourth goal of the campaign.

It had been coming. Only a few minutes earlier Ji-Sung Park had missed an easy chance after Welbeck had set him up.

The home side had chances to equalise, but only really came close when a Leighton Baines free-kick hit the bar. They had an early opportunity when Seamus Coleman skimmed past Jonny Evans but shot straight at David De Gea.

Towards the end of the first half, Jack Rodwell twice got himself into good positions - but De Gea blocked his first shot and his second whistled past the post.

This fixture is normally a raucous affair, spiced up by the ritual abuse meted out to Goodison "traitor" Rooney. Apart from a short chant after he'd scuffed a half-chance, though, the so-called Everton hate mob never lived up to its name.

Perhaps the Goodison crowd has finally forgiven him for joining United seven years ago.

Rooney, who was withdrawn by Fergie from last September's clash at the height of allegations about his private life, did well in his unaccustomed central midfield role. Moyes admitted: "We were very surprised by Wayne playing in midfield.

"It caused us problems. But we were unlucky not to get a point.

"For the second time in a week we went toe-to-toe with one of the top three teams."

The People



EVERTON boss David Moyes is set to make a SECOND attempt to take Steven Pienaar back to Goodison Park from Spurs.

Toffees boss Moyes tried to land the South African midfielder on loan in the summer - just six months after selling him to Tottenham for £3.2million.
That bid was rejected by Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, but it is believed Everton are ready to go back for their former player when the transfer window opens in January.

Pienaar has struggled to make an impact at Spurs after leaving Goodison Park last January with just a few months left on his contract.

The 29-year-old suffered a groin injury at the start of the season and missed the first six weeks of the campaign.

But he hopes to be included in the Spurs squad to face QPR at White Hart Lane today.

Spurs sources suggest Moyes will be wasting his time in launching a second loan bid for the midfielder.

Redknapp sees no value in allowing Pienaar out on loan when he has not yet had a proper run of first-team action for Spurs.

The People



THE performance was never going to be important - all that really mattered was 

And although winning ugly has never been a weapon United over-use, this time the champions were more than happy to sacrifice panache for points.

After that 6-1 global humiliation inflicted by bitter rivals Manchester City there were no apologies from Sir Alex Ferguson either.

It was not pretty, nor was it the kind of display that will terrify United's future opponents.

But as a health check after such a nasty wound, it showed United are on the mend if not fully fighting fit.

Ferguson's rallying call was for football to see the real United at Everton. The image most have of United is a swashbuckling, attacking force who overwhelm opponents.

Here, though, we saw a United determined not to lose. They had headed to Goodison on the cusp of a crisis but Ferguson does not often lose again after such a heavy beating. And a win thanks to a Javier

Hernandez close-range 19th-minute decider, a clean sheet and a message that they can defend properly when it matters was everything and more for Ferguson.

He said: "It was a pleasing win. There have been so many chances against us recently we had to reduce that if we are going to win the league and today we didn't have any problems.

"In the second half we defended well and that was the pleasing aspect for me, winning 1-0 - and it was a 
fantastic performance by Nemanja Vidic.

"Every ball that came into our box he got it clear and that's his speciality. He's a fantastic header of the ball and that was key for us today."

Make no mistake, though, they were made to sweat by an Everton side who will probably never have a better chance to inflict a blow on United.

David Moyes' men were a touch below par but still made life tough for a United side which showed steel and good sense instead of the limpness and lunacy in evidence against City.

After that debacle all eyes were on Ferguson's team selection. And it was clear from his line-up Anderson and Rio Ferdinand bore the brunt of the manager's anger at the derby rout.

Brazilian Anderson, ineffective and outwitted by City's midfield, was 
nowhere to be seen while Ferdinand was consigned to the bench and never appeared. And instead of an attacking game plan Ferguson was far more cautious than against City.

Admittedly, he started with Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez, but only the Mexican was left upfield when United did not have possession.

So often United have been in the eye of a storm here with Everton flying out of the traps. But this time there was no hurricane start to weather.

Everton's Carling Cup midweek extra-time epic against Chelsea meant their usual up-and-at-em game plan against United was missing. Instead, the visitors quickly grabbed control to steady any nerves that may have been lingering after such a seismic defeat.

And their intent was clear early on as Tim Howard had to save from Ji-Sung Park in the second minute after powerful work from Welbeck.

Ferguson deployed Rooney as a central midfielder at the hub of United's creativity and Moyes admitted the tactics took him by surprise.

But it was Tom Cleverley rather than Rooney who was at the heart of the game's only goal.

Cleverley picked out Welbeck and the young striker funnelled the ball out to Patrice Evra wide on the left. The Frenchman, at the centre of a race storm with Luis Suarez after his Merseyside visit a fortnight ago, has hardly been at his best this season.

But he delivered a dangerous cross into the six-yard box and Hernandez snaffled his fourth league goal of the campaign.

Everton woke up as half-time approached and Leon Osman forced David de Gea to save down low and Jack Rodwell drove a left-footer wide after robbing Darren Fletcher.

The best chance for Moyes' men came after 40 minutes when Leighton Baines smashed a 20-yard free-kick against the bar after Fletcher had fouled Marouane Fellaini. Louis Saha might have 
punished his old club on another day but twice within a few seconds he fired at De Gea as Everton finished the half strongly.

The second half probably belonged to Everton but they huffed and puffed without reward.

Just before Cleverley limped off with an ankle injury, De Gea made a save with his head to keep out a rocket from Rodwell.

Then a rapid United break ended with an equally good save from Howard to tip over a Welbeck volley.

The Observer



After an afternoon of remarkable misery, Manchester United were in the mood for a little dullness. Sentimentalists among their followers might have hoped for a trouncing of Everton to exorcise the horde of demons unleashed by Manchester City in last week's 6-1 rout at Old Trafford. The manager had other ideas.

It is not flippant to portray Nemanja Vidic as the key to United's success. His fitness is currently uncertain and the Serb had been absent from the match with City. His availability for Goodison Park was a boon for United, particularly when Sir Alex Ferguson had decided on a return to the raw essentials of football, such as relentless defending.

The historic flamboyance of United can be misleading. The club, after all, took the title last season with just five wins away from home, but there are three to their name already this season. That suggests a rising exuberance, but this was a dour fixture, regardless of the fact Everton were beaten.

Entertaining the public has fallen off the United agenda for the time being. The match was treated as a venture into dangerous territory. United's conservatism also owed much to the realisation that Everton do not have the sort of forwards to bring havoc down on a defence.

United, by their standards, had been subdued, but that was a policy rather than a hangover. Darren Fletcher, for instance, kept close to his centre-backs and was alert to the potential danger posed by deep-lying attackers, such as Leon Osman. The side had not been sent out to achieve catharsis by pounding these opponents.

There were changes to the United line-up rather than reprisals on those who had let Ferguson down the week before. Anderson was nowhere to be seen, but, in general, the alterations were not unusual for a club of such resources. Given the concerns about his capacity to stay fit, the selection of Rio Ferdinand on the bench surprised no one.

If Ferguson had any message, to deliver it was that his side had to get back to their routine. They did not assert themselves to a great extent or take risks, and that could indeed have been an indication of the harm done by the mauling by City. But there were other contexts in which to understand the action. United had not won on this ground since September 2007.

Few of their supporters will revel in the result itself, but there had been at least a satisfactory reaction to the experience in the City match, which Ferguson had described as his "worst-ever day" with United. The manager was too shrewd to resort to histrionics when it came to picking the line-up. Jonny Evans, for instance, started after a wretched display against City that came to a close with a red card.

With the suspension conveniently served against Aldershot in the Carling Cup, he was available for Goodison and showed the worth he can have so long as the opposing attackers are not of City's calibre.

Everton could not avoid providing therapy for United. The visitors might have anticipated more resistance as they developed a move that ended with Javier Hernández knocking in Patrice Evra's low ball from close range for the only goal of the afternoon.

United seldom looked as if they had it in them to construct such an attack again, but Ferguson had never intended an onslaught. He had opted for a 4-4-1-1 system. The side had also been restricted to a lone striker against City the previous weekend, but the 4-2-3-1 formation was far more expansive and the outlook of the footballers within it was adventurous.

At Goodison, the priority was never to be outnumbered in key areas. It was an afternoon to repudiate the romanticism that has drenched United's history. Fletcher, towards the close, had virtually pasted himself on to the back four. Ferguson, prowling on the edge of the technical area, must have grimaced mostly because there were six minutes of stoppage time to endure.

The jeopardy for United had, in truth, vanished by then. The United manager must have come with hope of containing Everton. Moyes's side has some excellent attributes, but economics dictate that the club cannot afford the kind of outstanding attacker who might have harmed the United defence. The outcome could have been changed on, perhaps, just one occasion.

Tellingly, it did not come in open play. Leighton Baines's free-kick against the crossbar in the 40th minute was well struck, but sheer perfection had been essential if Everton were to score a goal.

With Chelsea all but stripped of their reputation for defensive intransigence in the defeat by Arsenal, most of the leading sides have imperfections. City may have a quality that puts them in a category of their own, but United can be counted on to make them show that excellence time and again this season.

The Observer



Sir Alex Ferguson promised a response from Manchester United after their derby disarray last Sunday, although, disappointingly, it was Everton who failed to find one in this tame encounter.

The United manager also suggested it would be a hard game - but it was not. Unusually in the recent history of this fixture, Everton went a goal down and could not come up with a reply. There was no fightback, no stirring of supporters' passions to set the old ground rocking, just a quiet acceptance of the fact that, even playing within themselves, United were strong enough to take the three points.

Everton do not normally lose all of their feistiness when Tim Cahill is not playing but, with Louis Saha having one of his less impressive games against his former club, the home side looked too toothless to trouble United. David Moyes has done amazingly well over the years to produce competitive sides with the most meagre of resources, but either the midweek battle against Chelsea had taken too much out of his players or the law of diminishing returns is catching up with Everton.

Moyes could only look on enviously at the riches at Ferguson's disposal when the United manager sent on Nani, then Dimitar Berbatov and, finally, Antonio Valencia to increase his attacking options. If he could take a sliver of pride from the fact none of those substitutions made much difference, it was only a sliver. While Everton usually save one of their best performances of the season for United, this time they never really got going.

"United were resilient, we couldn't break them down," Moyes said, in a fair summary of the game. "I don't think we would have been flattered by a draw. United created very few chances, but we just lacked that bit of quality in the final third of the pitch.

"We've had a tough run of matches and, although we have lost the last two, I don't think I can criticise the lads after going toe to toe with Chelsea and then United. I've got to praise them for the way they worked, I felt we could have got something out of both games, and we can take confidence from that."

Ferguson's players were barely recognisable as their old selves, either, although quality in the final third of the pitch is something that rarely deserts them. Wayne Rooney played so deep in midfield he spent the majority of the game in his own half and, once ahead, United did not stir themselves to look for more. They did not quite sit back and concentrate on protecting a single-goal advantage - that would have been too far out of character - but they played with a conservatism that was untypical, as if chastened by the results of over-committing themselves last week. Ferguson confirmed as much afterwards, when he accepted that United had been allowing opponents too many chances of late and withdrawing Rooney to reinforce midfield was one way of doing something about it.

With Rio Ferdinand dropped to the bench after the defeat by Manchester City and Javier Hernández operating as a lone striker, United broke the deadlock after 19 minutes without needing to raise their tempo.

Everton were allowing them to pass the ball around more or less as they wished and when Danny Welbeck rolled a pass out to Patrice Evra, on the left, his centre went over Rooney's head, but was deftly tucked away with a left-foot volley by Hernández, unchallenged at the far post.

It was all a little too easy for United, who slackened off their attacking efforts for the rest of the first half and allowed Everton to get forward more, safe in the knowledge that the home side lacked any real goal threat.

Leon Osman might have done better than shoot straight at David de Gea when a decent chance came his way from Marouane Fellaini's knockdown, while Saha again aimed at the goalkeeper with the last kick of the first half, although, significantly, the only time United were worried was from a set piece. Leighton Baines struck De Gea's bar with a free-kick from a couple of yards outside the area, with the goalkeeper a mere spectator.

Everton were slightly better in the second half, which Jack Rodwell opened by bringing an athletic save from De Gea, even if the diving goalkeeper suffered the indignity of keeping the ball out with his face instead of his hands. Tim Howard was also required to make a save at the other end when Hernández's splendid crossfield pass found Welbeck in full stride.

Apart from Tom Cleverley pulling up injured before the end, a fate that also befell one of the referee Mark Halsey's assistants, the game was incident and excitement free. An anodyne afternoon, which is not what anyone had been expecting.

"The most pleasing aspect for me was winning 1-0," said Ferguson, completing a strange day at the office.

"We defended well in the second half and David de Gea didn't really have that much to do. Everton put in a lot of crosses, but we managed to get them away and still managed to create the game's best chances.

Maybe we rode our luck a little bit when Everton hit the crossbar; we were possibly fortunate there because it was a fantastic free-kick."

The Daily Star



TIM HOWARD has applauded David Moyes' work on a shoestring as the Everton boss prepares to celebrate ten years of being strapped for cash at Goodison.

Moyes hits the milestone in March after joining from Preston - and in that time spending funds have been limited to say the least.

The wheeler-dealer Scot has splashed just £113million - an average of £11m a season - since being appointed by chairman Bill Kenwright back in 2002.

Moyes' most expensive outlay was the capture of £15m Marouane Fellaini.

Instead of big spending, Moyes has invested in youth, nurturing the talents of players such as Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and now Ross Barkley.

And Howard, for one, takes his hat off to Moyes for still assembling sides to compete in the Premier League against all the financial odds.

Howard says what Everton lack in collateral they have riches galore in the shape of a one-for-all fighting spirit.

He said: "We enjoy battling against the odds and proving people wrong. If there are doubters out there, it's good to go out and get on a good run of form.

"We don't have to go out and spend £100m. We know we can still go out and compete with the quality we have. It's not always easy but we've shown that.

"We've got a great fighting spirit. We love to fight for the shirt and for each other.

"We've got a grit and determination about us that is hard to match. Top teams don't enjoy playing Everton.

"The one thing we've also always had is bringing through young players and we've got a fantastic manager who is very shrewd in the transfer market.

"He's cut from the old school cloth. He works tirelessly and is at the training ground all day, every day.

"He wants perfection and when you earn his respect you feel a million dollars.

"He pushes us every day and the philosophy he has of working hard is one I certainly believe in."

The Sunday Telegraph



Manchester United's response to their derby defeat was not the biblical tempest many anticipated, but the winds of change were still gusting through Goodison Park.

It seemed fitting that a symbol of United's next generation, Javier Hernández, should score the winning goal on a day Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to begin the process of ushering out another of his old guard.
The much anticipated results of United's 'hunt the scapegoat' competition were delivered when Rio Ferdinand, for so long the kingpin of Ferguson's defence, was left on the bench to dwell further on his performance against City.

The England defender had already been singled out for criticism, so his demotion merely affirmed where Ferguson pinned the blame for last weekend's defensive collapse.

With Ferdinand a spectator, Ryan Giggs still nursing an injury and the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar adjusting to life beyond football, the sense of Ferguson establishing a reinvigorated new look at a more rapid pace this season is manifest.

That said, this win wasn't entirely based on the fountain of youth. Ferguson neglected to explain why Ferdinand was omitted, but his fulsome praise for Nemanja Vidic - outstanding in his first Premier League appearance since August - could easily be interpreted as being as pointed as his selections. "It was a fantastic performance by Vidic. Every ball that came into our box, he got it clear," said Ferguson.

"That's his speciality, he's a fantastic header of the ball and that was key for us today. The fact that there have been so many chances against us recently, we had to reduce that if we are going to win the league. We have to reduce those types of chances against us and today we didn't have any problems."

If Vidic came to the fore in resisting an impassioned but barren Everton attack, it was United's youngsters, especially Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Hernández, who offer the most reassuring glimpse of the future. Ashley Young (toe) and Chris Smalling (foot) were missing because of injuries which will keep them out for around two weeks and a month respectively. Cleverley and Welbeck were heavily involved in the beautifully constructed winner for Hernández on 19 minutes, although, in truth, this was United's last dangerous move of the game. A swift passing combination preceded Patrice Evra's cross, nudged in from close range by the prolific Mexican.

"It was a brilliant goal by Hernández," said Ferguson. "There was some great interchange play and Chicarito did what he does best."

That was all United needed. They failed to convince everyone their troubles are behind them, but by winning while well below their best, it felt normality was being restored.

For Everton, Leighton Baines struck the bar with a 25-yard free-kick, while Jack Rodwell and Louis Saha should have handed David De Gea a tougher examination, shooting tamely when well placed. David Moyes' concern is a lack of cutting edge despite plenty of possession. The home side had the momentum after the interval when Moyes unleashed teenager Ross Barkley, replacing the ineffective Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Moyes had warned Evertonians not to expect too much from 17 year-old Barkley, but his first touches showed why he is so highly regarded.

He is still a raw talent and against Jones, the most exciting of all the newly injected blood into this United team, the teenager was confronting the best player on the pitch. United were content to soak up the pressure, and the main frustration for Moyes was that De Gea did not have to make a save.

"We're unlucky not to get a point out of the game," said Moyes. "We played well but didn't have the extra bit of quality in the final third to get something out of the game. There were periods when we looked stronger, but our players went toe-to-toe with United as they did against Chelsea. There were moments we would not make the extra pass."

Without being anywhere near their best, Ferguson and his side could leave Merseyside believing the ghosts of the Manchester United derby had been exorcised. With the exception, perhaps, of one of the more experienced members of their contingent.

If Ferguson's youngsters have taken less than a week to regain their manager's trust, it may take Ferdinand a while longer.

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