What The Papers Say - Wednesday 12 December
A round-up of Everton-related newspaper coverage.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini is keen for Everton to maintain their place in the top four in order to qualify for the Champions League.
The Belgium international was named Barclays Premier League player of the month for November after scoring four goals and being involved in creating two more.
He has been used in a more advanced midfield role by manager David Moyes this season and the 25-year-old, who has regularly been linked with a number of clubs, is enjoying himself.
"At the moment I am playing well. I am happy - but the most important things are the team and the club," the eight-goal midfielder told evertonfc.com.
"I try to give my maximum in every game. The manager likes it when I play in attack, so at the moment, it's good for me and the club.
"I've been scoring the goals and I work hard on the pitch.
"This season we have played well. We thank the fans because we have great support.
"Everybody wants to play Champions League next season so we work hard for this and hopefully we can finish in the top four."
MAROUANE FELLAINI insists individual accolades pale in significance with Everton’s bid to reach the Champions league next season.
After a month when his goals and dominant displays helped the Blues remain in contention for a top four place, the Belgian midfielder was named the Barclays Premier League Player of the Month for November.
But the 25-year-old maintains it is Everton’s collective desire to play in Europe’s elite cup competition next season which is more important.
He said: “I am very happy with the award but the most important thing is the team.
“Everybody wants to play in the Champions League, so everyone is working hard and at the end of the season we want to be in the top four.”
The former Standard Liege player scored four times during the month as Everton continued their impressive start to the campaign, and also contributed two assists.
He becomes the seventh Everton player to win the award since its inception in August 1994, and added: “At the moment, I am playing well. I am happy, but the most important things are the team and the club.
“I try to give my maximum in every game. The manager likes it when I play in attack, so at the moment, it’s good for me and the Club. I’ve been scoring the goals and I work hard on the pitch.
“This season we have played well. We thank the fans because we have great support. Everybody wants to play Champions League next season so we work hard for this and hopefully we can finish in the top four.”
Meanwhile, Apostolos Vellios said he was delighted to have played his part in Everton’s dramatic win over Tottenham on Sunday.
The 20-year-old’s attempted over-head kick on 92 minutes allowed Nikica Jelavic to seize on the lose ball and fire it past Hugo Lloris, and Vellios hopes he can continue to make an impact.
“I didn’t see it,” admitted the Greece U-21 international. “I only saw the celebrations. I spoke with the guys in the dressing room and they explained the goal to me.
“I feel really excited and really happy. When I go on I have to believe, so I believed because we played really well in the first half and we started well again in the second half. So I believed from that and we won.
“In that situation, you have to clear your mind and you have to be focused. You have to learn to listen to the manager and coaches, what they say and what they want, and thankfully we got the result.
“I am happy here and when the manager puts me on I have to be ready, that’s all,” he added.
“This now is a great feeling. But I think this game is over now, it’s finished and we’ll see what happens in the next game.
“The Premier League is a lot of games and we have to be focused every game and every day.”
DAVID MOYES could have conducted two separate press conferences after Everton games this season – one to discuss his team’s performance and another solely to lament the ineptitude of the referee.
All too often the Blues boss has had to caveat thoughts on a promising display from his side, with a gripe about how they have been badly undermined by the match official.
And while most Premier League managers highlight decisions they disagreed with after a game, Everton have been hit particularly hard by costly calls from the man in the middle so far during the campaign.
Moyes recognises the challenges facing referees in the modern game, but admits his sympathy is being stretched to breaking point after yet another weekend when his side might have suffered – this time when Kevin Friend failed to award the Blues a penalty for a clear handball from William Gallas during the eventual 2-1 win over Spurs on Sunday.
“Being a referee nowadays comes with a much higher profile and it is also a much more challenging job,” he said. “The cameras and the technology now allow us to analyse every decision and for anyone who has never refereed a game I can tell you that it is very difficult as I do it most days in training.
“However, here comes a ‘but’ from me. What we’ve had in recent games, starting at Reading a few weeks ago, are decisions that have cost us points. I will always be the first person to look at the players to finish better or to defend better and not rely on decisions, but as you can see on a regular basis at the moment decisions are affecting the outcome of the games.”
The Blues boss insists referees need better support from their assistants – after games this season when faltering linesmen have also got major decisions wrong against his side.
“Some of the decisions that have gone against us have been made by the assistants – Newcastle and Wigan for example,” he said.
At the DW Stadium in October Moyes felt Roberto Martinez’s men received overdue leniency from Kevin Friend in the wake of their own prior complaints about refereeing.
The Scot claimed Friend and his assistants John Flynn and Mark Scholes failed to see that Arouna Kone’s goal was offside and denied Everton a couple more credible penalties.
He also felt they offered Marouane Fellaini, who was booked for catching Maynor Figueroa with his elbow, no protection as Wigan succeeded in rattling the Blues’ Belgian star.
However, even that was an improvement on the previous month’s woes.
Everton were denied two legitimate goals in their 2-2 draw with Newcastle, as Victor Anichebe saw play waved on by referee Mike Jones despite his header crossing the line – and an earlier strike from Marouane Fellaini was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Even Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew agreed.
“I do feel that the referees are not being supported by their assistants and are, on occasions, being let down by them,” Moyes added.
“I will continue to try and support the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) but they must work to improve their standards throughout the game.”
KEVIN SHEEDY hailed his Everton U-18s defensive steel after they beat Southampton 2-0 to ensure progress in the FA Youth Cup.
The academy scholars wrapped-up a satisfying first half of the season with victory at St Mary’s, and Sheedy was delighted with the emerging discipline shown by his back line.
George Waring and Conor Grant got the goals in each half to help the young Blues negotiate their way past the Saints, and the clean sheet left their manager especially pleased.
He said: “We have conceded a lot of goals this year and sometimes we have had to score three to win games.
“That’s back-to-back clean sheets now though, which is a first for us this season. Defensively we are really pleased and overall it was a real hard-working team performance.
“We’ve got the Christmas break now and it’s always nice still to be in the FA Youth Cup. We have finished third in the league so we will be playing against the better teams around the country next year.
“All in all, it has been a really good first half of the season for us.”
After a Liverpool Senior Cup game against AFC Liverpool next week, the U-18s will take a break from competitive action until the New Year, but can look forward to a fourth round tie in the early part of 2013.
“We are very pleased because we knew it would be a difficult game against a good Southampton team,” Sheedy added.
“We had them watched and we knew some of their players had progressed into the Under-21s. It was going to be a real stern test for us and so it proved.
“We have done really well to come out on top 2-0 and our lads approached the game as we wanted them to from the very first whistle.
“Scoring a very good goal (Waring's opener) always helps in a cup tie and we also rode the storm when we had to. They had a lot of possession but defensively we had a very good shape.
“We said at half-time that we needed the second goal to give us a bit of daylight and we got that. It was a great cross by Matthew Kennedy, Gethin Jones got to the back post and Conor Grant got on the end of it.
“There were two really good, well-worked goals, so we are pleased with tonight’s performance.”