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

Sir Alex Impressed With Everton

@Everton

Marouane Fellaini’s inspirational performance helped Everton overcome Manchester United in August – but Sir Alex Ferguson insists the Belgian won’t be the only player his team need to keep a watchful eye on this Sunday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Old Trafford boss was full praise for Everton’s consistent form this season and, in particular, the job David Moyes has done during his 11 years in charge of the Blues.

The 71-year-old said: "[There's also] players like Steven Pienaar, who’s been really good since he came back from Spurs. He’s actually improved since he came back from his short spell at Tottenham.

"Nikica Jelavic had a great season last season and is in a bit of a lull at the moment in terms of his goals. Now they’ve brought the big lad on, Victor Anichebe, and he’s a different player to Jelavic.

"You also look at the experience and consistency they’ve got at the back with Sylvain Distin, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville. They play every week so they’ve got a good unit there.

"David Moyes has made gradual progress because when he first took over I don’t think he had any money to spend, I don’t think he had a squad anything like what he has now.

“Given time you can do these things and I think that’s a great value that Everton have got out of David – each year he has progressed to good levels.

"They’re challenging for a top-four place now. I think they have a genuine chance of being in the top four.

“You see their record - they have lost just three times this season and drawn 12. They are obviously hard to beat.”

Ferguson also confirmed that Ashley Young is back in contention for Sunday after missing the last month with a knee problem.

Phil Jones (shingles) and Michael Carrick (hip) could also both feature after recovering from the problems which prevented their involvement in England’s midweek win over Brazil.

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