Moyes Absorbs Cup Pressure
Boss to shield players from pressure as he contemplates selection
David Moyes insists he will shield his players from pressure ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final as he contemplates a number of difficult selection decisions.
The Blues travel to Wembley with only Jack Rodwell and Steven Pienaar unavailable to play.
It leaves the manager with an enviable selection dilemma as the focus of a city turns to one of the most eagerly awaited derby encounters in decades.
The scale of the tie is something the manager is relishing - and he is keen to ensure he shoulders the burden of responsibility in order to allow his players to focus on their own preparations.
He explained to evertonfc.com: "I put pressure on myself because I want to be successful and I want to win games. I take responsibility for the teams. I pick the players, so I have to. So, of course the pressure's on me and I'm happy to take that.
"I was always going to have difficult decisions. We've got a squad which is playing well at the moment and we could quite easily pick a number of players. It's good. We've got a good choice to make.
"We've definitely improved from where we were at the start of the season. The form the players are in, the confidence they're playing with, the results, the goals we're scoring in games - all those things have definitely shown we've improved. And certainly in the last few months.
"On numerous occasions now I think I've said the boys in January made a big difference but there's big credit to the boys who were already here - they've buckled down and got their form back going again and we rely a lot on the boys who have been around a long time and they're all in good form thankfully."
Trying to second guess the manager's selection for Saturday is made all the harder by the fact virtually every member of his senior squad has been called upon at some point in the last month.
Indeed, 20 different players have been utilised since the victory over Sunderland in the quarter-final - with each playing a key role in maintaining a run of form which has seen the Blues suffer defeat just twice in 17 outings.
Moyes added: "We've made changes probably for the last six weeks and in the main it's worked very well for us. I think when you've got a squad of players and you've got most of them fit, you've got to keep them all hungry and playing and giving them game time at the right time. We've tried to do that and we've tried to get the decisions right as often as we can."
It is a headache for the manager for Saturday - but one he will certainly welcome.