What The Papers Say - Saturday 2 February
A round-up of the day's local and national newspapers.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
DAVID MOYES insists Everton FC are still top four contenders despite admitting his frustration at the failure to boost their ambitions via the January transfer window.
The Blues abandoned their £8.6m bid to land Dutch international Leroy Fer on Wednesday after his medical revealed knee problems, and then failed in an ambitious late pursuit of Sevilla’s Spain international striker Alvaro Negredo.
Speaking ahead of today’s clash with Aston Villa, Moyes expressed his regret that the club did not act sooner in the window instead of being left with a race against time on Thursday, but maintained he still has every faith in his current squad even if he desperately wanted to bolster it.
He said: “We are short. We said before the window that we’re short of what we want and we tried – but it didn’t happen and that’s the situation we have to deal with.
“I would say we are one of the contenders for the top four, for sure. It’s a question of keeping at what we’re doing.
“I don’t think we need to dwell on why the deal for Fer didn’t work – and we had a go for the boy from Spain but for different reasons it didn’t work out. It wasn’t for the want of trying. If there is any criticism then maybe we could have tried a little bit earlier.”
Moyes declined to elaborate on the reasons why Everton, who landed £3m Barnsley defender John Stones on the final day of January, were not active earlier in the month – and when asked if it was because funds were only made available late, he said: “I wouldn’t say that.
“But in the end we did, and we tried, we just didn’t quite get them.”
Asked whether the lack of big-name arrivals to boost Everton’s Champions League credentials would effect his decision to sign a new contract, the Scot said: “I wouldn’t discuss it, we’re only a day over it, but we’re concerned we didn’t add to what we got because I wanted to give the players something extra.”
The Toffees boss added that he made sure the Blues did not panic-buy as they attempted to find new signings while the clock ticked down.
“We didn’t go scatter gun at the end when we didn’t get Leroy Fer, but we tried to add some good players who would make a difference, and if that didn’t happen we looked at bringing in young players who could be ones for the future and add value which we did,” he said.
“The chairman and the chief executive were both on record as saying we didn’t have much money to spend so no one could be surprised, but at least we tried to give it a go
“We are disappointed obviously, Fer is a top player and it’s a shame it turned out like that, but we are still one of the contenders to be in the top half and in and around the top four.
“We just have to get our heads down and play on –we had a good January so it’s a case of keeping our heads down, keep plugging away and see if we can do that in February as well and try to cling on in there.
“There is disappointment, but it doesn’t alter now this team has been playing and what this team has been doing, and we have to ensure we keep doing that until the end of the season and see where it takes us.”
DAVID Moyes has urged his Everton FC side to recapture the resurgent spirit of a year ago as they bid to remain in the mix for a top four finish.
Twelve months ago a successful January transfer window, which concluded dramatically with the return of Steven Pienaar, helped the Toffees transform a poor first half of the campaign into a successful second one, and the Scot hopes his men can channel that same energy.
Although this time around the window shut without a raft of new arrivals to galvanise a small first-team squad, Moyes still has every faith in the players who have propelled the club to within a point of fourth-place in the table.
“If we can try and copy what we’ve done over the last few years in the second part of the season we’ll not be too far away I don’t think. It’s easier said than done,” he says.
“We might still finish where people would have expected us to finish.
“Maybe to be a real top team you need that consistency throughout, but the one thing you’d say is that we are showing consistency.
“We’ve not faltered that much and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Moyes is fully aware that for his side’s season to flourish again it would be helpful if Nikica Jelavic in particular could rediscover the prolific form which quickly made him a fan’s favourite after his arrival on Merseyside 12 months ago.
But Moyes was pleased with the Croatian’s reaction to being taken out of the team for Wednesday night’s victory over West Brom.
“He’s been good,” he says. “I think he understood and respected the decision. The job is to get him back into form because when he arrived this time last year he probably helped make the difference, probably with Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson.
“If we could get Jelavic back to the level he was this time last year it’d be excellent.”
Everton are currently fifth, a point adrift of Tottenham, and have lost only three league games all season.
The scenario is quite different for Villa, who dropped into the bottom three with a home defeat to Newcastle this week.
It has been a testing period for manager Paul Lambert, but Moyes believes if his fellow Scot can keep Villa up, the future for the club could be bright.
“I think it has been a difficult job for Paul because he is having to change things around and has probably tried to alter the amount they are spending on wages as well,” Moyes said.
“He has brought in a few younger players and it is going to take time. But if he pulls through with the younger boys, he might have a good team going on into the future, and I’m sure that is the way he is looking at it.
“He has to try to make sure he gets through this period and if Aston Villa survive, I’m sure they will get better.”
For now though, Moyes will hope to compound Lambert’s misery and he could be helped by the return of midfielder Darron Gibson today.
The Republic of Ireland international was back in action as a substitute in the 2-1 win over the Baggies after a thigh problem, which had kept him out since the end of December.
It also remains to be seen whether or not Jelavic will be restored to the first XI, while it is not expected that new boy John Stones will be involved and Seamus Coleman (thigh) and Tony Hibbert (calf) remain sidelined.
Asked about Stones, Moyes added: “He is a young English player and we are always keen to add as many of those as we possibly can.
“He has been playing at right-back and playing quite regularly for Barnsley.
“I know there are a lot of people saying he will turn into a good centre-half in the future as well, so we will look at that, and we will try to develop him the way we have done with quite a few other young players we have brought in from the lower leagues over the years.
“But he is not really for just now, he is for the future.”
Transfer deadline day also saw the departure of Magaye Gueye, who joined Brest on loan until the end of the season.
The midfielder will have the opportunity to play regular first-team football with the French club, who are currently placed 14th in Ligue 1.
Moyes added: “He was involved a lot here and was around the bench, but he was really keen to go back to France at this present time.
“The opportunity came up at the last minute and we gave him that chance to do so.”
David Moyes has urged his players 'to go again' to win a Champions League place, despite admitting he had been 'left short' by Everton's transfer window dealings.
Everton beat Wigan to £3million Barnsley right back John Stones but missed out on FC Twente's Leroy Fer, due to his knee problem.
They failed with a bid for Alvaro Negredo of Sevilla.
EVERTON boss David Moyes has vowed to fight on for a top four spot despite missing out on transfer targets.
‘‘It wasn’t for the want of trying but now we have to knuckle down and continue with the good work,’’ said Moyes.
Everton failed to land any big-name players in the transfer window, with Barnsley’s John Stones their only capture and he is one for the future.
Dutch star Leroy Fer’s £8.6m move from FC Twente was scuppered by a medical, while a late bid for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo was rejected.
Moyes said: “We are short of what we want and tried to add some good players who would make a difference.
‘‘But it didn’t happen and that’s the situation we have to deal with.
“We are still one of the contenders to be in the top half and in the top four – and we have to ensure we remain so until the end of the season.”
Everton host struggling Aston Villa today and victory will see them leapfrog Tottenham, who play tomorrow, into the top four. But Moyes admits there is a concern that his side will not be able to keep on the tails of the big teams.
He added: “The top clubs have that ability to maintain it over an entire season and perhaps we don’t have that.
“But we’ve shown incredible consistency in our results, we don’t lose too many even if we are not quite there.
“We just have to get our heads down and play on – we have had a good January so it’s just a case of plugging away and doing our best.’’
David Moyes fears Everton's transfer problems could undermine their pursuit of Champions League qualification but refused to discuss the ramifications for his own future at Goodison Park.
The Everton manager, who is out of contract in the summer, admits his squad has shown the ability and consistency to remain in contention for a top-four finish but believes it could be exposed by the lack of January additions.
Moyes wanted proven talent that could instantly strengthen his midfield or attack but an £8.6m move for the Dutch international Leroy Fer collapsed amid concern at his recovery from a recent knee injury and Everton were unable to match Sevilla's asking price for the striker Alvaro Negredo. He then instigated an alternative plan to bring in young talent for the future, signing the Barnsley defender John Stones for £3m and inquiring about the goalkeeper Jack Butland before his move to Stoke City.
The Everton manager said last year he would delay negotiations on a new contract with the chairman, Bill Kenwright, until after the January window. But, asked what impact the transfer frustrations would have on his position, Moyes said: "I wouldn't discuss my contract. We are just one day through the window and it's not the right time. But we are concerned we didn't add to the squad because we know we needed something extra.
"It wasn't for the want of trying, though. We didn't go scattergun at the end when we didn't get Leroy Fer but we tried to add some good players who would make a difference to the first team. And, if that didn't happen, we looked at bringing in young players who could be ones for the future and add value. We are disappointed obviously. Fer is a top player and it's a shame it turned out like that, but we are still one of the contenders to be in the top half and in and around the top four."
Moyes believed Everton lacked depth before January but the squad is lighter after the close of the window, with Stones the only addition and Ross Barkley plus Magaye Gueye leaving on loan. "We are short," he added. "We said before the window opened that we're short of what we want and we tried. But it didn't happen and that's the situation we have to deal with. For different reasons it didn't work out but it wasn't for the want of trying. If there is any criticism then maybe we could have tried a little bit earlier."
The Everton manager would not divulge why the club made its big money moves late in the window. "I couldn't quite give you the answer to that," he admitted. "I wouldn't say that [the money wasn't made available until late]."
Everton do have Kevin Mirallas and Darron Gibson playing again after lengthy injury lay-offs and entertain Aston Villa on Saturday one point behind Tottenham in fourth. And Moyes admits Everton have found the consistency to sustain their challenge, injury and fatigue permitting.
He said: "I would say we are one of the contenders for the top four, for sure. It's a question of keeping at what we're doing. The chairman and the chief exec were both on record as saying we didn't have much money to spend, so no one could be surprised, but at least we tried to give it a go. Now we have to deal with where we are.
"Maybe where Everton finish is where Everton are as a club. I spoke about the need to get off to a better start and we've done that. The top clubs have that ability to maintain it over an entire season, but perhaps we don't. One thing I would say, though, is that we've shown incredible consistency in our results. We don't lose too many even if we are not quite there. There is disappointment [over transfers] but it doesn't alter how this team has been playing and what this team has been doing."