Phil Neville insists that the ruthless nature of Monday’s performance highlights how seriously Everton are taking this season’s FA Cup competition.
No chances were taken by David Moyes at Whaddon Road, with the Blues skipper one of ten players boasting international experience selected in the starting line-up.
The reward for the 5-1 victory over Cheltenham is a trip to either Bolton or Sunderland in the fourth round in three weeks’ time.
And with an even spread of games until May, Neville believes the squad are well prepared to fight on two fronts in the remainder of the campaign, both in the FA Cup and Premier League.
“He [Moyes] told us yesterday [Sunday] that he wants to win the FA Cup and I think that was a signal with the team he picked,” said Neville.
“He could have easily rotated the squad after the Christmas period but he wanted to keep the momentum going.
“We’ve got one game a week from now until the end of the season – barring replays in the FA Cup – so tiredness shouldn’t come in to it. We are on a good run of form and have good confidence.”
Despite eventually easing to victory, Neville was full of praise for the part Cheltenham played in the tie.
The hosts did breach the Everton defence to make the score 3-1 on 51 minutes before Seamus Coleman’s delightful lob and Marouane Fellaini’s late finish ensured there was to be a final winning margin of four goals.
Neville added: “The manager played his strongest team and that’s credit to Cheltenham because they have got a good home record. These games are all about attitude and we showed a good one today.
“At half-time the manager demanded more of us – he wasn’t happy with the way we played in the first half.
“I think we passed it better in the second half and showed our experience. It was relatively straightforward in the end.
“It was nice to get some goals. The goals early on killed Cheltenham’s enthusiasm but they kept going until the end.
“This is why the FA Cup is so good because these teams never give up – it was their chance of playing against one of the Premier League big boys.”