What The Papers Say - 28 January
Moyes on Heitinga and the last week of the transfer window.
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EVERTON FC manager David Moyes has declared that if he was a betting man he’d back himself to bring in a new signing to Goodison Park before the January transfer window slams shut on Thursday night.
Although funds remain tight, the Scot, who celebrated his 500th game in charge with a 2-1 victory at Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, is doing his utmost to add at least one additional member to his squad.
He said: “A lot of my time this week will be devoted to try and bring someone in but most of my time will be devoted to trying to win my game on Wednesday night.
“Whatever happens, you can only bother about the players you’ve got, not the ones you’ve not got.
“I’ll concentrate on the players I’ve got at the club. If I’m fortunate enough to get someone else then great and I’ll start to look at them when I can get them in.
“I tell the chairman what I think we need and we try and work it out together. I know exactly that he gives me every penny so if you don’t have it, you can’t give it.
“We’re pretty straightforward. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it.”
Asked if he were a betting man, would he back himself to bring in a new face before the current transfer window closed, Moyes replied with an emphatic: “Yes!”
The win over Dougie Freedman’s mid-table Championship side ensured Everton reached the last 16 of the FA Cup for the third successive season but the visitors’ performance was patchy and after back-to-back goalless draws in the Premier League, Moyes admitted his squad would benefit from a new face.
He said: “I’m going to try and freshen things up. People are aware we don’t have big cash but I’m looking as we need a little bit of freshness if we can get it to help us in the second half of the season.
“This was never going to be a great, flowing, pretty game although for 20 minutes I thought we played really well.
“We went with two up front and had as many attacking players as we could on from the start to try and win the game.”
Moyes added: “When I took the job – which was 500 games ago – I knew the situation that there wasn’t going to be lots and lots of cash to spend.
“I can’t suddenly turn around now and say ‘where’s that money you told me about?’ That was never in the agreement.
“I think as a team, as a football club, we’ve risen and got better and grown. We’ve only finished in the bottom half two times since I’ve been here.”
THEY might never build a statue of John Heitinga at Goodison and his name may not go down in Royal Blue folklore but at least he will always have the eternal gratitude of 5,000 Evertonians.
It may have been boos which greeted the introduction of the out-of-favour Dutch international for Nikica Jelavic towards the end of Evertons FA Cup fourth round tie at Bolton, but the away end was exalting him to the heavens 10 minutes later.
Heitinga saved those hardy Blues who descended on the Reebok Stadium on Saturday from having to sit through a replay of a game which will be memorable for the explosive way it ended and nothing else.
Prior to the 91st minute, Evertons cup credentials had seemed as enduring as the snowmen which were slowly melting into slush outside the ground.
David Moyes side remain off-colour and this was, the first 20 minutes aside, a drab companion piece to the apologetic performance at Southampton.
Fortunately you dont necessarily get silverware for playing pretty football.
The Toffees enjoyed a promising start with Kevin Mirallas restored to their starting line-up for the first time since early December, but when he limped off yet again any fluidity from the visitors quickly evaporated.
Yet if theres little doubt that this is a sticky spell for Everton, theyve developed a promising knack of avoiding defeat no matter how poorly they perform.
Maybe its karma. Cast your mind back to the autumn when Everton were regularly out-playing teams with scant reward, the solitary point after demolishing Newcastle at Goodison in particular.
The last two results suggest that misfortune is beginning to even itself out.
The Blues started with a phase of almost total dominance when they poured forward at will, and seemed to have recaptured the spark which was so lacking on the south coast.
Moyes had persevered with Jelavic and the Croatian formed a partnership with Victor Anichebe, who started in confident fashion thanks to his much improved form.
The Nigerian international went close with a header, and Mirallas tried his luck as Bolton left-back Marco Alonso probably began to wonder what he had let himself in for.
The Spaniard neednt have worried. Mirallas lasted just 17 minutes before signalling to the bench that his hamstring was troubling him, and had to be replaced by Magaye Gueye. It was a bitter blow, but the gloom was swiftly eased when Everton took a fortuitous lead moments later.
Anichebe turned Zat Knight smartly and his blocked attempt was deflected past Bolton keeper Andy Lonergan by Steven Pienaar.
Instead of galvanising the Premier League outfit the goal only fired up their hosts, and Dougie Freedmans players began to probe with ever ominous intent.
By the half hour mark, with Bolton in the ascendency, their spirited response was rewarded.
The impressive Darren Pratley was left by Marouane Fellaini to escape down the right and his low cross was turned in expertly at the near post by Marvin Sordell.
Then Tim Howard had to be at full stretch to deny the resurgent hosts as Pratley tried his luck with a fierce effort from range. So it continued until the break, with lacklustre Everton fortunate to still be on level terms as they headed in for a dressing down.
Suitably chastised, the Blues emerged early for the second half and tried to up the tempo, with Pienaar and Leighton Baines exerting gradually more influence.
But Bolton remained a threat on the counter, and Howard had to be alert on several occasions, particularly when thwarting Alonso.
But Boltons goalkeeper Lonergan had to be nimble too, particularly to tip Pienaars smart effort over the bar, as the Blues playmaker started to pull the strings and find space in dangerous areas.
Still the game wore on with a replay looking ever more likely as Evertons momentum faded. Moyes had hinted before the contest that he was minded to rest the mis-firing Jelavic, and although he changed his mind it was the Croatian who made way for Heitinga prompting the disapproval of the travelling Toffees.
It proved to be the decisive change, and Heitinga will at least remember the contest fondly even if few others will. Bolton failed to clear Baines corner and the man who has gone from Evertons player of last season to periphery man reignited his prospects with a thumping strike.
It wasnt all he ignited either a celebratory flare was released among the throb of ecstatic supporters who made more noise than the trickle of home supporters had done all afternoon.
Never mind it wouldnt be an authentic cup run without a game when it nearly all went wrong before scraping over the line.
In the end cup football is all about winning and in the very end that's just what Everton did.
JOHN HEITINGA insists he wants to stay and fight for his place at Everton FC after he scored the late winner which kept the Blues’ FA Cup hopes alive.
The Dutch defender rifled home in extra time to clinch a dramatic 2-1 win for David Moyes’ men in the competition’s fourth round on Saturday, and hopes it can prove a personl turning point as he bids to revive his Toffees career.
Heitinga has struggled to break into David Moyes’ first team so far this season , and has been constanly linked with a move away from Goodison during the January transfer window, but with Moyes reluctant to lose anyone from his threadbare squad and the 29-year-old settled in the north west, he is determined to prove himself.
The Holland international, who was the club’s player of the season last term, said: “I’m working hard to get my place back in the team and I’m a fighter so I’ll never give up.
“If the manager makes another decision and doesn’t put me in the team that’s his decision, and the only thing I can do is focus on the time I do get. Hopefully I can show everybody that I’m still the same person that I was last season.
"The most important thing as a player is that you believe in yourself and give everything you have, then the rest follows.
The team is performing really well this season, but as a player you need a couple of games to get back at your level. I’ve spoken to the manager – he’s happy with me and I’m happy with Everton.
"I’m really pleased I got the winner in front of the away fans. They were unbelievable. I think if Bolton Wanderers said you can sell all the tickets we have left the stadium would be full of Everton fans.”
The 91st minute strike was only the fourth of Heitinga’s Everton career, but he hopes there are more to follow.
“I have scored a few good goals in my career but not many for Everton unfortunately, so I was very happy with the winner. I knew it was going in as soon as I hit it,” he said. “We started well but then the game turned and Bolton were the better team. It’s not easy to play FA Cup games away from home but the important thing is we won and we don’t need a replay.
“Bolton played really well and deserve some credit. They fought and kept the ball really well but you need a bit of luck and today the luck was on our side. We worked hard to get the luck.
“You play a lot of games, especially in England and it’s good for us that we don’t have an extra game when we’re trying for Europe and trying for the cup too. If we get to the final there’s a chance we get into Europe from that.
“We’re still in the cup so hopefully we can go a better than last year.”
EVERTON boss David Moyes has declared that John Heitinga will not be leaving Goodison Park before the transfer window shuts – unless the Blues receive a silly money offer for the Dutch defender.
Last season was the former Ajax and Atletico Madrid man’s most consistent since he arrived in England in 2009 and he was named Everton’s Player of the Year.
However, the 29-year-old has struggled to break up the Phil Jagielka-Sylvain Distin central defensive partnership at the heart of the Blues’ backline this term.
Heitinga hasn’t started since the 2-1 win at Newcastle on January 2 and was only introduced into the action at the Reebok Stadium in the final 10 minutes when he replaced Nikica Jelavic.
His stoppage time strike, which was Heitinga’s first goal of the season, ensured Everton went through to the last 16 of the FA Cup and admits he doesn’t possess the strength in depth to allow the Dutch international to leave.
He said: “I don’t think we could let John Heitinga go because we’re too short of central defenders.
“We wouldn’t let him go unless it was something outrageous which made us do it. I think at times he’d like to play in midfield but he’s a central defender. We were short of who we could play in the middle of the pitch (at Bolton).
“Thomas Hitzlsperger had to go to the funeral of someone in his family and we were short of right-backs so we needed Phil Neville to stay there.”
Heitinga stepped into the midfield holding role previously occupied by Marouane Fellaini when the Belgian was pushed further forward in the latter stages as Everton searched for a winning goal and Moyes conceded his record signing’s display had been up and down on the day.
He said: “I thought Marouane Fellaini’s performance was mixed. I thought there were bits of good stuff but then there was poor stuff. I thought he ran aground a bit towards the end with about 20 minutes to go.
“We’re just fighting to try and find a little bit of form just now. He wasn’t at his best but he was still an influence and still had good moments.
“We dropped him back a bit deeper because we were a little bit short.
“I think Felli is better in between the midfield and forward line.
“If you said number four is the holding midfield player and there’s a number 10 role then he’s probably the number eight depending on what system you play. I think he can do both jobs.
“Against Southampton he dropped deeper in the second half and played very well.
“It’s something we’re aware he can do.”
It says much about the paper-thin veneer of Everton’s squad, that they were forced to turn to a centre-half as their only midfield option late in the game.
It says even more about the spirit, tenacity and sheer will to win of this side, that the makeshift replacement, John Heitinga, provided a spectacular winner deep into stoppage time of the 2-1 victory at Bolton... even if it was not entirely deserved.
For poor Bolton there is no consolation in the fact they played their part in a properly traditional FA Cup tie, low on quality but high on drama, typified by the fact they could have levelled through sub Benik Afobe, even after Heitinga’s injury-time intervention.
Yet when the Championship side reflect on the game, they will surely be encouraged not only by their own display, but the example set by Everton, who are somehow maintaining a top-four challenge in the Premier League, while fighting through to the cup’s fifth round, all with a threadbare squad.
Blues boss David Moyes said: “I don’t have many options and will try to freshen things up before the window closes. I’m looking because we need some freshness, but we don’t have big cash.
“When I took the job 500 games ago today, I knew we wouldn’t have lots and lots of cash to spend. I can’t suddenly turn around and say, ‘Hey, where’s the cash?’ Because that wasn’t in the agreement.
“I was reading in the programme today that in the past 10 years we have only finished in the bottom half twice, so we have improved as a club and grown. The key is to keep doing that, even without spending huge amounts.”
Full-strength Everton dominated the opening 15 minutes and took the lead when Steven Pienaar netted with a fortunate deflection off Victor Anichebe’s miss-hit shot.
Yet the fatigue that is nagging away at the Goodison squad took its toll as Bolton increased their tempo and desire, and it was no surprise to see them level after Darren Pratley’s good work allowed Marvin Sordell to put a sweet finish past keeper Tim Howard.
What was a surprise was to see Moyes vindicated – after his own fans booed the decision to replace striker Nikica Jelavic with defender Heitinga – by the sub’s late goal.
But even the manager worries about the toll on his team in a busy week, and he added: “A lot of my time in the next week will be devoted to trying to get someone in, but more of my time will be devoted to trying to win the games we have, because you can only bother about the players you’ve got.
“I will do everything I can to get someone in. I will tell the chairman what we need and hope we can do it together. I know exactly, he gives me every penny. So if you don’t have it, you can’t give it. But if I have to have a bet on whether we will get someone in, then I would back myself to do it.”
One bright spot for Bolton was the return of Stuart Holden, after two years of injury nightmare.
He came on as an 81st-minute sub and the little American midfielder could not disguise his delight.
“It was sweet – when I was coming on I had goosebumps standing there,” he admitted.
Chelsea have reportedly joined Southampton and Liverpool in the race to sign Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland.
The 19-year-old is widely expected to leave the Championship club this week and is available for £6million, with half paid up front.
Birmingham are desperate to raise funds to ease their perilous financial position.
Butland was capped by England after impressing for Team GB at the London Olympics and does not want to move to a club where there is another young or established rival which he feels will hamper his progress.
His manager Lee Clark would be keen to see the teenager return to complete the campaign with Birmingham.
However, the situation has been made increasingly difficult for Birmingham's manager as the club cannot afford any accompanying hike in his wages, should he be loaned back to them.
Both Liverpool and Everton have shown an interest in the past and Southampton had a £6m bid rejected last August.
And the Daily Mirror reports that Chelsea have now joined the queue of suitors.
The Stamford Bridge club view him as cheap back-up for experienced No Petr Cech and rising stat Thibaut Courtois who is on loan at Atletico Madrid.