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DAVID MOYES admitted he must accept a share of the blame for Everton FC’s woeful FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Wigan.
The Blues conceded three first half goals in three-and-a-half minutes to send them crashing out of the competition at Goodison on Saturday, and departed the pitch to widespread booing at the interval and full-time.
Afterwards a shell-shocked Moyes said he was dismayed at his team’s lacklustre display, and hinted that he had concerns over recent weeks that they could not sustain the form which saw them in Champions League contention before Christmas.
The Scot denied that his move to delay a decision on his Goodison future until the summer was a factor in the display, and insisted it was a spectacular off-day instead.
“What can be said is people will always draw comparisons,” he said when asked about his contract stance in the context of Saturday’s result.
“But anybody who watched that game will know it had nothing to do with that. It was just a poor performance by myself and the Everton team. It wasn’t anything to do with anything else. I actually got a feeling that the supporters realised it was just a bad day. We just didn’t play well. It wasn’t as if it was something tactically we did.
“Throughout you saw misplaced passes, bad control, not winning a race, a challenge or a header in the box.
“It was a performance I’ve not seen from my team for quite a while.
“I’ve always known what I need to do to move it forward. A lot of those things get apparent.
“A lot of supporters and sports writers as well don’t always maybe see it. As the season goes on those frailties start to show up more and more.
“People start to notice them. We’re quite good at covering a lot of them up through the years.
“We considered all the different permutations that Wigan could play and tried to make sure we covered all bases.
“But really we didn’t come up to scratch no matter what way we played, and I don’t think there was a great deal I could have made different.”
Moyes refused to single out any of his players, and said he thought booing from the home supporters when he substituted the lacklustre Marouane Fellaini was for his decision – although supporters afterwards claimed they were voicing their anger at the Belgian’s performance.
“I think it was probably people disappointed with me taking Fellaini off – but I think people who watched the game would have their own views,” he said.
“The players were finding it hard. They were trying to knock on the door in the second half and get a goal back early. We had tried to put them on the back foot and we did do for about 15 minutes but without really making any in-roads, and the longer it went on it became more frustrating for one or two.”
Moyes admitted he has been unsettled by aspects of his team’s displays since January. He said: “I thought there were bits against Reading last week I wasn’t so sure about. I’ve seen signs about things I wasn’t sure about. Obviously I’m not going to publicise them and say what they are. And I’m not saying they’re all of the things which came to fruition against Wigan. We didn’t play well enough and they did. We gave away goals quickly so we nearly lost the game very quickly in a bad period.”
Asked whether the defeat was a watershed moment for the team in his 11th year in charge at Everton, he said: “What we’ve tended to do in these situations is bounce back quite well.
“We lost a big game at Wembley last year and I would expect the same from the players and the same from me. I said before we’re still fighting on two fronts; the FA Cup and the league, and that’s why I would never say which one is more important than the other. Now the important thing is we try and win as many league games as we can.”
EVERTON broke Callum McManaman’s heart when they rejected him as a teenager so his return to the club was bitter-sweet as he helped end their FA Cup hopes.
The Huyton-born 21-year-old, cast out at Goodison Park aged just 15, scored in the 3-0 victory which put the Latics into their first semi-final.
He admits he still has a special affection for the Toffees but has moved on since being told he was not good enough to make it at his boyhood club.
He said: “I was there for nine years and was released when I was 15 and it broke my heart to be honest, but I still look out for Everton’s results. I was there from the age of seven and that was my life at the time so I was gutted when it happened, but you just have to get on with it.
“It was make or break when I left.
“I either packed it in or went and found another club and Wigan came knocking and I haven’t looked back.”
Maynor Figueroa, McManaman and Jordi Gomez scored in 202 first-half seconds to secure Saturday’s win.
McManaman has yet to make an impact at Premier League level for Wigan but has scored in his last two FA Cup appearances and is hopeful of repeating the feat at Wembley in the semi-final next month.