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Nev: Luck Played Its Part

Skipper admits Blues were below their best in beating Bolton.

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Phil Neville
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Skipper Phil Neville admitted Everton required an element of good fortune to overcome Bolton and progress to the last 16 of the FA Cup.

Despite a lively start and an early strike from Steven Pienaar, it took a last-minute intervention from substitute John Heitinga for the Blues to ultimately prevail at the Reebok Stadium.

With home games against West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, plus a tricky trip to Premier League leaders Manchester United on the horizon, the victory meant David Moyes' men avoided an unwanted Goodison replay.

And in a candid interview with evertontv, Neville confessed: "It was probably bordering on a little bit lucky in the end.

"We set off really well and for the first 15 or 20 minutes we looked as though we'd found our rhythm. The goal came at the end of a period of total domination and I thought it was going to be a quite simple game to win.

"Then, obviously, we conceded a goal and after that Bolton put us under a lot of pressure and we didn't play well enough after that.

"It was a proper cup tie and sometimes in a cup tie you just need to make sure you're in the hat for the next round. And that's what we are."

Moyes revealed after the game that Heitinga's introduction 11 minutes from time was intended to give top scorer Marouane Fellaini more freedom to move forward.

Neville, however, hinted at a secondary factor -  Bolton's tendency to defend deep at corners, something duly noted by the Blues boss in his pre-match preparations.

"The manager had actually said that there was always going to be space at the edge of the box against Bolton from corners," the 36-year-old explained. "Johnny is a great striker of the ball, with great technique, and he came up with a fantastic strike and a goal worthy to win any game.

"When you come on as a sub you need to make your mark and Johnny did that today. He's a great player for us.

"It's a big week. We're looking for three victories and we've started it well."

Tickets for Everton's home games against West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878.

Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office, Everton Two in Liverpool One or Ticket Quarter in Queen Square.

joe blumkinWe'll need Gibson and Mirallas healthy the rest of the way to have any shot at FA Cup glory and a place in the top four. without them our midfield is aimless and our attack is lopsided...

Monday 28th January 04:04 Report Comment
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