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LEON OSMAN believes David Moyes has laid down a marker after a strong Everton side started their road to Wembley with a 5-1 rout at Cheltenham.
The Blues boss had been expected to rest some of his tired first-team players after a testing festive period, but instead fielded close to a full strength 11 in the third round FA Cup tie at Whaddon Road.
That helped the Toffees to overcome their spirited League Two opponents emphatically last night, and continue their winning habit from the Premier League.
England international Osman, 31, started alongside Leighton Baines, who played despite nursing an ankle injury, and a host of other key men including Nikica Jelavic and Phil Neville, but the midfielder insisted nobody wanted to be rested, with a burning ambition to capture some silverware prevalent in the Goodison dressing room.
He said: "We’ve had some really tough games over Christmas and we’re bound to feel a bit tired. But nobody wanted a rest and we all want to play in every game. We’ve got a game a week for the foreseeable future and I don’t think there’ll be any qualms over being tired or unfit.
"We knew the manager was taking the cup as seriously as the league. I don’t think that was a doubt. I think in the past we might not have always done that over the years – and we haven’t won it over the last 10 years.
"The more the years go by he, and we as a team, want to win it more. There was no disappointment when the team was named. Everyone wanted to play. We came here and did a job.
"We’ve had to put extra effort in to get the wins during the Christmas games, but this was just as important as them. It’s just as important as Swansea on Saturday and we’ll gather ourselves together and go again."
Osman maintained that Everton cannot expect to progress in the Cup simply because they feel their manager is due a trophy after a decade in charge, and with his long-term future at the club still unresolved.
"He’s been a fantastic servant to the club," he said. "If he was to leave I’d be disappointed but you don’t always get what you deserve.
"You don’t just win a cup because you’ve done well over the years and deserved it, it’s up to us as players and a club to turn that into something real."
Moyes, meanwhile, dismissed reports linking Victor Anichebe with a January transfer window move to Reading.
"That’s not true. I’m not selling anybody," he said after reports circulated last night.
"I thought Victor had a real go tonight and had some creative moments as well."
EVERTON took no risks against lower-league opposition and swept aside Cheltenham last night.
Nikica Jelavic and Leighton Baines, with a penalty, had piled into League Two Cheltenham early on and they were never allowed to recover.
Everton have developed into a Premier League side of style, resilience and quality and it was all too much for the Robins, who were never a threat in this third-round FA Cup tie.
Leon Osman, Seamus Coleman and Marouane Fellaini added more Everton goals in the second half, with Russell Penn giving Cheltenham a golden moment with his goal.
Everton had equipped themselves with a strong side and plenty of firepower and were two-up in just over 20 minutes.
Cheltenham needed to get the tie revved up early but it was Everton who took control and stifled the expectant passion of the home crowd.
Everton are not used to losing these days, with only four defeats in all competitions all season. One of those was in the Capital One Cup at Leeds, quickly ending that route to Wembley and they wanted to make sure this road to glory stayed open.
That is where the two early goals came in useful.
After 12 minutes Bryan Oviedo backheeled the ball for Fellaini to curl a shot that found a Cheltenham post. Jelavic was quickest to respond, sliding in to get the ball over the line for his first goal in nearly a month.
Cheltenham were sloppy and slow defensively for that one, but there was nothing wrong with the way their goalkeeper Scott Brown reacted to a trademark Baines free-kick that was heading for the keeper’s top left corner until he got his hand to it. Baines is one of the best dead-ball experts in the top flight and it is not advisable to give him two chances or you could be deep in trouble.
So it was in the 21st minute. Cheltenham captain Alan Bennett was all over Fellaini as he went for the ball, with referee Kevin Friend awarding the penalty.
Brown must have known he was pushing his luck this time and Baines crashed the ball past his right-hand side.
Everton’s only problem in the first half was that they might become wasteful and Fellaini was a culprit in the 40th minute when, unmarked, he committed weakly to a header and the likelihood of a third goal was gone.
Darren Carter, a player with higher league experience in Cheltenham’s midfield, tried to create something, if nothing else than but for himself because his short-term contract is up soon, but by half-time the tie was comfortably Everton’s.
By the fourth minute of the second half they were three ahead. Victor Anichebe sent Baines away and he set up Osman to beat Steve Elliott and drive in the ball.
Cheltenham got a goal back in two minutes, with Kaid Mohamed teeing up Penn from deep inside the penalty area. But it turned back into a long, uphill battle for Cheltenham when Coleman got Everton’s fourth goal in the 58th minute.
Everton broke quickly and from Anichebe’s pass Coleman took one touch to control the ball and a second to lift it over keeper Brown.
Fellaini added another to round off the tie just before the final whistle.
England’s top clubs are on alert over reports that Marouane Fellaini has a £22million buyout clause in his contract.
The Everton midfielder is interesting a number of teams but the clause, inserted in a five-year contract in 2011, can only be triggered by a club who play in the Champions League. Holders Chelsea are likely to be at the front of the queue.
Fellaini, 25, scored his ninth goal of the campaign in last night’s rout of Cheltenham, and Chelsea are on the lookout for someone to replace Frank Lampard, who has been told that he can leave in the summer.
Everton captain Phil Neville believes the side that David Moyes selected to beat Cheltenham 5-1 tonight reflected the manager's desire to win the FA Cup.
Everton reaped the rewards of fielding a virtual full strength side as they overcame npower League Two side Cheltenham in the third-round tie at the Abbey Business Stadium.
Nikica Jelavic opened the scoring after 12 minutes and Leighton Baines doubled Everton's lead seven minutes later from the penalty spot.
Leon Osman made it 3-0 early in the second period and, after Russell Penn scored pulled one back, Seamus Coleman and Marouane Fellaini completed Everton's nap hand.
Moyes' side will now visit the winners of next week's Sunderland-Bolton replay at the Stadium Of Light in the fourth round.
Neville told ESPN: 'He (Moyes) wants to win the FA Cup and I think that is a sign with the team he picked.
'He could have rotated the team. We have a game a week until the end of the season.
'I think he wanted to keep the momentum going.
'We are on a good run of form, good confidence.'
Neville added: 'Full credit to Cheltenham.
'I think these cup games are all about attitude.
'It was relatively straightforward in the end.'
Osman, who was voted man of the match, added: "You need to go through - it's the FA Cup it's important.
'And it's important you come to places like this and go through and we've done that.'
Of their potential fourth round opponents, Osman said: "You are always looking for a home draw but we are going to have to go away to one of those teams which will be difficult.
'But we are looking to go as far as we can in the competition.'
Moyes was also pleased with his side's performance, telling ESPN: "It was a tough game for us at the start.
'But overall it was a good job well done.
'We've not scored a lot of goals like that.
'Hopefully that will help us - it is something we need to try and improve on in the second half of the season.
'Whoever we play is going to be a really tough game for us.'
Cheltenham manager Mark Yates was proud of his League Two charges but admitted there was a huge gulf between the teams.
He said: "I thought the timing of the goals took the wind out of our wings.
'Everton were too strong a team and were too good for us.
'It shows what class they have.
'He gave us respect but also gave the competition respect.'