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Lille (A) Thu 23 Oct 2014, 18:00, Europa League

'A Year Of Progress'

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Everton v Swansea

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Regardless of the defeat against Chelsea on Sunday, Everton will end 2012 with the Club's biggest points haul in a calendar year since 1987.
 
The victory over Wigan took the Blues' tally for the year to 68 - putting them third behind Manchester United and Manchester City. Chelsea are fourth with 66 points and Arsenal fifth with 64.
 
It is a statistic which backs up David Moyes' assertion it has been a year of significant progress.
 
He told evertonfc.com: "I think we have had a good year. At this time last year we had just kicked on and we finished the season very strongly, and since August we have continued that.
 
"It is unfortunate that 2012 has been in two pieces. I think we would have to say that it has probably been as good a year as we have had. The football has improved, we look a threat - particularly since the arrival of Jelavic and the goals he brings.

"Overall you have seen big improvements. The Baines and Pienaar combination back on the left, Osman in the form he has been in and Darron Gibson doing well since he came here. We have been pleased with 2012."
 
As the attention now turns to 2013, the manager admits the ambition is to secure qualification for European football.
 
He added: "That’s what we will try to do. I have been asked that question a lot and it’s going to be tough.

"If anyone thinks we have a shoe in there already, I’m telling you its going to be a long hard season.

"We have a lot of difficult away games to come. We are going to need the crowd at Goodison to help us in games like Wigan where we had to dig it out to get through it."
 
A return to Europe is something that would provide a boost to the squad - and enhance the manager's plans to continue the Club's development.
 
He explains: "It’s always difficult to improve but you have got to try. That’s the job. But I think we have improved. Has it been year on year? I think we have gradually shown signs of improvement.
 
"I think we have become a stable football club in the years I have been here. I think it is less and less likely that Everton will be involved at the wrong end of the table, albeit in the last few years after the first three months of the season we have been saying 'we could be in a relegation scrap if we don’t sort ourselves out'.

"But, by the end of the season, we have always looked like a solid top-half team."

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