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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Vic Credits Jela For Boost

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Victor Anichebe sees Nikica Jelavic as a mentor he can learn from - not a rival he needs to oust from the team.
 
Anichebe has started Everton's last two games with Jelavic emerging from the bench on both occasions – a role the Nigerian has impressed in this term.
 
After starring in the 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion last Wednesday, Anichebe was a perpetual thorn in the side of Aston Villa on Saturday, scoring Everton's first equaliser and earning the plaudits of both David Moyes and his teammates.
 
The Everton manager's preference this season has been to go with one lone striker ahead of leading scorer Marouane Fellaini.
 
But Anichebe, who can also operate from wider positions, doesn't consider himself in direct competition with Jelavic - instead insisting the two can work together to take the fifth-place Toffees ever closer to European qualification.
 
He said: "I wouldn’t look too far into it. Nikica has been unbelievable for us since he has come and his record speaks for itself. When I was injured Nikica took the scoring burden himself, he has been playing on his own every game. There comes a time where you have to take him out because he is pretty tired but the best of Nikica will come.
 
"You know he’s fighting every day and he will be back to his best."

Jelavic strikes
 
Anichebe maintains he's been able to improve his own game by studying the striking instincts of his colleague.
 
He said: "I talk to Nikica all the time and some of the positions I am getting in to now is because of him, he has helped me get in to more goalscoring positions, so I wouldn’t look too far in to him not playing or if I don’t play.
 
"We play together, or either he plays or I play - it’s not a big deal."
 
The 24-year-old Nigerian international has been one of the Blues standout players of 2013 but shrugged off talk of his individual development, preferring to speak about the team.
 
"It is nice to picked, but like I said, whether I’m playing with him (Jelavic) or without him it doesn’t really change my mentality,” he continued. “You know people are saying ‘come on, this is your big chance, take it’. But I don’t really look at it like that, I look at it as all of us together as a team.
 
"Jelavic might play one day and I might play another day, we always give each other confidence. You know we always give each other a push to go and do well so it doesn’t make a difference if he is playing or not playing. If he plays he plays, if he doesn’t he doesn’t, that is just the way it is.
 
"I’m pleased with the goal, I find that skill is one I'm able to do well. The players look for me in those positions, so I was happy to turn and get the shot off. It was a good goal but without the pass, it wouldn't have been possible. Kevin, I’ve told him a few times before to just watch when I’m there and free. Without the pass I wouldn’t have been able to score the goal. The pass made it, so I give credit to Kevin as well."

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