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'Fellaini's Been Phenomenal'

The views of ex-Everton and Chelsea winger Pat Nevin ahead of the final.

'Fellaini's Been Phenomenal'

Pat Nevin knows what it's like to run out for Everton in an FA Cup final.

He knows what it feels like to get them there. He also knows what it feels like to walk away empty handed.

Joining Everton from Saturday's FA Cup final opponents Chelsea in July 1988, Nevin scored the only goal of a semi-final meeting with Norwich just nine months later to book a final trip which ultimately ended in defeat to Liverpool.

With the Blues set for another Cup final appearance 20 years on, evertonTV caught up with the Scot to discuss Everton's season, the road to Wembley and his admiration for Marouane Fellaini.

How do you assess Everton's season?

It's been quite phenomenal for Everton - a wonderful season. I've seen a great deal of the side this season, starting in the Uefa Cup. It was disappointing they went out how they did [in the first round against Standard Liege] because it was a competition Everton were capable of winning and I think David Moyes felt that as well. They had a few injuries, the team hadn't quite gelled and they just didn't have the strength in depth at that time.

But they've more than made up for it since...

I don't think you could ask any more than what Everton have done in the league this season. It's more than an icing on the cake to get to an FA Cup final too.

And they've had to get there the hard way...

It doesn't often happen that you play so many top teams. Usually you sneak your way through a couple of rounds but it's been the big ones. I do go back to the semi-final against Manchester United and people will have a bit of a disrespect for it because it wasn't their first-team but you have to beat everything that's put in front of you.

What did you make of the semi-final?

I was there and I've been to Wembley a few times but I don't think I've heard a bigger noise. The noise was extraordinary from Everton fans. I remember thinking - and I was desperate for Everton to win - that if it was to be a Chelsea-Everton final the noise is going to be out of this world.

We know you're a fan of Marouane Fellaini...

I'm a big fan of Fellaini. He can be a fantastic player and a big part of Everton's game on semi-final day was to get balls up to him and get Tim Cahill and co running on to it. But every time the ball was lumped up in the air anywhere close to him, the referee just blew for a free kick. It really stopped a good part of Everton's game plan that day.

But you didn't always rate him...

Maybe my ignorance, as much as anything, was the problem with Fellaini early on. Like a lot of Everton fans, we saw him at the start and weren't too sure what David Moyes had seen. But all hail Mr Moyes, he knew what he was doing and Fellaini's been phenomenal - and he's clearly only going to get better.

When did your opinion change?

One day made me realise he was getting better and better. It was the Manchester United game at Goodison. It was a bad first half for Everton in which Manchester United played well. But David Moyes obviously said the right things and Fellaini came out and bullied Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for 45 minutes after the break. Nobody does that. In the future, as the bits of his game get added together like a jigsaw, as they will do, he will become very special.

evertonTV subscribers can see our exclusive interview with former Everton and Chelsea star Pat Nevin now.

 

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