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Clean Sheet Pleases Skipper

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Captain Phil Neville was delighted by Everton's first clean sheet since September - but stressed Saturday's goalless draw with Swansea demonstrated the importance of having scorers all over the pitch.

The Blues recorded their first shut-out in 19 games against the Swans, though cruelly the blank coincided with the end of a run that had seen them find the net at least once in each of their previous 20 outings.

Prior to the draw with Michael Laudrup's side, Everton's last 10 goals had been notched by eight different players - the type of attacking prowess Neville feels the Blues may need to call on as teams search out ways to halt David Moyes' high-flying charges.

Swansea's approach was to defend in numbers - and the 35-year-old skipper senses that's something the fifth-placed Toffees may have to contend with more as their quest for European football continues.

"Our last clean sheet was against Swansea at their place so that was a good positive from today," Neville observed in an exclusive interview with evertontv. "We were solid at the back, Seamus [Coleman] was outstanding on the right and I think that the lesson we learnt today was that we've got to chip in with goals from all areas.

"We've got a great left side that's been getting all the plaudits and we need to contribute down the right side as well. Seamus [Coleman] was fantastic on Saturday, we've got Kevin Mirallas hopefully back soon, Steven Naismith and Victor Anichebe played there at different times today and it's up to us now to make sure we're a threat down both sides.

"It was frustrating and it was always going to be one of those days. They got men behind the ball and it was obvious from the start that they were going to camp in their own box but they were going to hit us on the counter attack.

"They're a good team, they're in a good run of form and we needed to be patient and we needed to take our chances when we got them, and we didn't. We had a couple of half chances in the first half, a couple of headers in the second half and we just didn't quite put the ball in the back of the net.

"At the end of the day you've got to take the positives - it was a clean sheet and we've not gone down any positions in the league. We're still in a great position and we keep going forward."

Neville was unsurprised to see Swansea give their hosts such respect and added: "Maybe it's the run they are on as well. They've had some tough games; Arsenal, Chelsea, and they've got Arsenal again on Tuesday.

"It's the second half of the season and there are going to be games where we're going to have to slug it out, fight it out, not play beautiful football, not score the perfect goal, just win the games.

"We didn't do that [against Swansea] and we're frustrated. But we also know that we've come out of a tough Christmas period in good form, in a good position, and we shouldn't be too disappointed."

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