The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
EVERTON FC goalkeeper Tim Howard wants to bring the Wembley feelgood factor back to Goodison Park.
David Moyes’ side are a game away from returning to the national stadium where they suffered at the hands of city rivals Liverpool in a 2-1 semi-final defeat last year– a memory Howard and his team-mates would like to banish.
“The way Wembley makes me feel, makes the team feel and makes the fans feel gives you drive to get back there,” he said.
“It’s always tough to lose to Liverpool in those circumstances on the big occasion so getting over it’s never easy.
“You kind of puff your chest out when you know you’re going to go to Wembley – everyone gets excited, the ticket requests all come in and people are singing the songs. So it’s important but for us to get to it we’ve got to take care of Wigan.
“The draw’s been favourable, we got a home draw finally, so that’s good.”
Victory over Oldham at the second time of asking ended a February run of four winless games for Everton.
Howard said: “I don’t think we’re firing on all cylinders at the moment but I think it’s a good thing – we’ve advanced in the Cup, we’ve got a home draw and when you look at the league table we’re still in the thick of it.
“We’re going to have to start doing the business but we’re still there.”
KEVIN KILBANE believes the lure of another European campaign for Everton FC would prove irresistible for David Moyes.
Moyes is out of contract at the end of the season and says he will not consider his future until then.
The Blues boss admits his decision will be influenced by Everton’s progress in the FA Cup and if they can qualify for European football next term.
Everton face Wigan Athletic in the quarter-final of the Cup and remain well placed in the Premier League.
Kilbane was part of the Blues side which qualified for the Champions League in 2005 and believes Moyes can emulate that success with the current crop at Goodison Park.
Kilbane, 36, says the Scot has done an excellent job since taking charge of Everton in 2002 and believes an FA Cup – and a return to Europe – would be a well deserved reward for his efforts but also the start of the new phase of his career at Goodison.
“He seems to be part of the furniture and I would love him to stay. I really would,” said Kilbane. “He has done a brilliant job and there are still things for him to achieve at the club as well.
“People talk about him not winning a trophy in his 10 years at the club but I don’t hold that against him because of what he has achieved over the years with the budget he’s had. The league form has been incredible, and I would like them to finish this campaign as they have finished the last few seasons.
“He’s quite rightly said ‘I want to concentrate on the football side of things’ and ‘I want to concentrate on our league form and then make a decision at the end of the season’.
“Getting into Europe, however that may be, would definitely influence his decision because he would want a crack at playing against the big guns in the big competitions.”
Though Everton have slipped to seven points off the pace for Champions League qualification, Kilbane says they are still in the mix.
“It is still to fight for,” he said. “Earlier in the season they were drawing games when they were dominating teams. I’ve been to see them a good few times this season and they have dominated games but come away with draws and they have looked disappointed with that. But recently, they picked up a really good point against Villa when they maybe did not deserve it that day.
“They just need to find that consistency again and if they do that, then they will be in a strong position to challenge for fourth spot.”
EVERTON FC need to revive the big game spirit of eight seasons ago if they are to earn another crack at the Champions League.
That is the belief of Kevin Kilbane, who played an integral part in David Moyes’ side finishing fourth in 2005.
And Kilbane believes it was Duncan Ferguson’s header, to seal victory over Manchester United on a raucous night at Goodison Park in April that year, which was the watershed moment in their campaign.
Less than three weeks later Everton had secured a top four spot at the expense of Liverpool.
Kilbane believes the current Everton squad are a more talented bunch than in 2005 and insists they have sufficient quality to bridge the gap to fourth place.
Seven points behind Chelsea at present, David Moyes’ men have 11 games left but know their run-in includes a clutch of challenging matches.
Champions Manchester City visit Goodison next month before the Blues face journeys to Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal – as well as the short trip to Anfield for a match with Liverpool, scheduled for May 4.
Kilbane admits Everton need to win most – if not all – of these battles with their rivals for European qualification but the 36-year-old insists teams will not relish taking on the Blues.
“They have got to be beating those teams if they are going to get into the top four,” he said. “They will be the key games because you don’t want to be chasing results you’ve missed out on.
“All those sides are top teams but they will all fear facing Everton and everyone recognises that as well.
“Man United paid Everton the ultimate respect by man marking Marouane Fellaini with Phil Jones earlier this month. Teams recognise the strength Everton have and are fearing them. They have that fear factor about them.”
He added: “We had some big games in 2005 – the night match with Man United which got us over the line when Big Duncan scored the goal. It was a fabulous night for us. And we had occasion after occasion where we were producing against the top teams.
“This side have got so many big games left, they are going to need a few of those big nights rather than just one or two.”
The 2005 team finished the season with 61 points and Kilbane, who clocked up 121 appearances and scored five goals for the Blues, believes they would have been a force in the current era.
“I think we would’ve done well,” he said. “We had a good group of players.
“In pre-season that year there was a lot of negativity around the club, Wayne Rooney had just moved to Man United and are a lot of questions were being asked of the manager. People wanted to know where the club was headed.
“But we started well, maintained that form and had a real good, solid foundation.
“We all worked hard for each other and recognised what it took to get us over the line.
“Everton, now, have got a better individuals than we had although we did have some real quality players in the team. David Moyes has taken the club forward in so many ways, on and off the pitch, and they have a solid foundation.
“The Barclays Premier League is such a tough environment right now and is so tight but Everton just need to maintain what they have been doing.”
Tim Howard has outlined the burning desire in Everton’s squad to book a return to Wembley and avenge the defeat that continues to haunt them.
Everton set up an FA Cup quarter-final date with Wigan on Saturday week after easing past Oldham on Tuesday and they are odds-on favourites to reach the last four for the second successive year.
The 2-1 defeat they suffered against Liverpool 12 months ago proved to be one of the most chastening experiences of David Moyes’ reign – Everton were in control until they froze in the second half – and Howard feels the wounds they suffered that day are still open.
Everton, who were also losing finalists in 2009, have threatened on several occasions to achieve something significant under Moyes and Howard believes this is their best opportunity to finally go all the way.
‘What happened to us last year has given us a real drive to get back there,’ said the American goalkeeper. ‘But the way Wembley makes me feel, the way it makes the team feel and makes the fans feel is also giving us that drive.
It’s always tough to lose to Liverpool, more so in those circumstances and on that big occasion. You puff your chest out when you are going to Wembley. You are excited, the ticket requests are coming in and the fans are all singing their songs.
‘In order for us to experience that again, we have to get past Wigan but the draw has been favourable. We have to start doing the business but we are still in there. It will be up to our big players, who have already played a ton of minutes, to keep producing.’
Moyes regards losing to Liverpool at Wembley as the worst moment of his 11-year Everton career and, even now, he still has difficulty speaking about how mistakes enabled Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll to cancel out Nikica Jelavic’s goal.
‘I still have the disappointment and nothing would give me more pleasure than to get Everton back to Wembley to try and reach another final,’ said Moyes. ‘I know the players are very much the same. We want to put that disappointment right.
EVERTON manager David Moyes is still haunted by his side’s FA Cup semi-final exit at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool last season.
Now he is determined to erase that memory by going all the way in the competition this season after disposing of Oldham in Tuesday’s fifth-round replay.
The 3-1 win has earned the Goodison Park outfit a home quarter-final tie with Wigan.
And Moyes is relishing the challenge of finally trying to get over the finishing line this time around.
After losing the 2009 final to Chelsea, his team fell to a late Andy Carroll goal in last season’s semi-final against Liverpool, despite dominating for most of the game.
And the Scot said: “I still have the disappointment of the semi-final last year and nothing would give me more pleasure than to get Everton back to Wembley.
“I want to try to reach another final and I know the players are very much of the same feeling.
“We will be striving to put right the disappointment from last year.
“Expectations at Everton have risen year on year and the job of any manager and group of players is to give supporters the belief that they can do something more than expected.
“The players at Everton have regularly competed in the top half of the Premier League in the last 10 years. In recent seasons we have been in FA Cup semi-finals and, not too long ago, we were in the final.
“I understand that still has to be improved on and we will continue to push and demand as much as we can from ourselves and the players. Let’s hope it is this year.”
And the Toffees skipper Phil Neville echoed the comments of his boss when he said: “We are still feeling the pain of that semi-final defeat.
“That hit everyone connected with Everton exceptionally hard. I don’t think the wounds will heal until we are back at Wembley and challenging again for a place in the final.”
Keeper Tim Howard, meanwhile, believes the best is yet to come from the European hopefuls this season.
He said: “I don’t think we are firing on all cylinders. And at the moment, I think that’s a good thing.
“We have advanced in the cup and have a home draw. And you look at the league table and we’re still in the thick of it.
“We have to start doing the business but we are still in there. We seem to be higher up the league at this stage of the season than we have been in a while.
“We don’t have a large squad, so it’s going to be about big players stepping up to the plate and producing.”