What The Papers Say - 12 February
Howard targets cup win and Reid backs Jelavic to return to form.
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TIM HOWARD believes the FA Cup can provide the timely lift to momentum which Everton FC need.
The USA international believes that victory at Boundary Park on Saturday could in turn spur on the Blues’ flagging Premier League form, which took another blow after a 2-0 defeat by his former club Manchester United on Sunday.
And Howard insists that Everton will be desperate to recapture the momentum of previous seasons when a good run in the FA Cup has coincided with an impressive finish in the league.
He said: “That’s got to be our strength. Continuing to get through in the Cup, as we know over the last few years when we’ve had good cup runs, can make us feel good.
“Even on the back of a loss; if we go to Oldham, get a result and go through in the Cup it makes us feel better going into the next league match against Norwich.
“They kind of play off each other, and that’s why the most important thing on our radar is the Oldham game.”
Howard lamented how Everton weren’t allowed to play their best football on Sunday by a team that are proving virtually unstoppable on home soil this season.
Manchester United had won all but one of their 12 previous home Premier League fixtures and the Blues became the latest club to come away from Old Trafford empty-handed.
And Howard, who made his 250th Premier League appearance in Everton colours, said the result needs to be put in perspective.
“You know that when you come away from home to Manchester United that you are always going to have a long afternoon and you hope that it goes your way. Today it didn’t,” he said. “A gentleman said to me how difficult it was for Everton to come here and get a result, and I reminded him how difficult it was for any Premier League team.
“It’s a tough place to play – they have got fantastic players and they make it very difficult.
“The one thing that stood out for me was that they pressed us all over the pitch. They pressed us high up with three (players) and never let us get started.
“When we got it into our big players, the guys who make us go, they made it difficult. Across the board, they did a really good job at closing down.”
Howard also believes Everton encountered a team that were keen to avenge the 1-0 defeat they had suffered at Goodison Park on the opening weekend of the season.
“They don’t like to lose either,” explained the American international. “They came to our place and took a loss, and I’m sure that was at the back of their minds.”
NIKICA JELAVIC could rediscover his ruthless streak in front of goal if he returns to the Everton FC starting line-up in the FA Cup against Oldham.
The Croatian striker has been benched for Everton’s last three Premier League games, after failing to hit the back of the net since Everton’s FA Cup third round win over Cheltenham on January 7.
Jelavic started his last game for the Blues in the previous round of the Cup at Bolton Wanderers, when Everton ensured progress into the fifth round with a late 2-1 win, and former Toffees title-winner Peter Reid believes the trip to Boundary Park on Saturday could be the perfect time for the striker to recapture his form.
“Without picking the manager’s team for him, that Oldham game could be an opportunity to get him the confidence back,” said former Manchester City boss Reid.
“I remember the chance he missed against Southampton last month. Last year that would have been in the back of the net and he just seems to need his confidence lifting. He looked quite sharp when he came on against United, and got his goal last week for Croatia.
“There’s no doubt that Everton have missed Jelavic’s goals. He was fantastic last season but he looks like he’s lacking a bit of confidence.”
Reid believes Everton’s players should use the cup tie against the League One strugglers as a springboard to get their momentum going again.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity. If you’re one of the Everton players and David Moyes says to you, ‘Do you want to play?’, you would say ‘yes’ because you want to get through to the last eight, get a home draw if you’re lucky and see where you go from there.
“That can drive you on and give you that momentum back. I would be surprised if every one of those players doesn’t want to play.”
(Ian Snodin column)
IT DOESN’T take a tactical genius to figure out that if you can contain Marouane Fellaini and limit Everton’s left-sided threat you can go a long way towards taking the sting out of facing the Toffees.
However Alex Ferguson still deserves credit for the way he epitomised the old adage about not making the same mistake twice.
Fellaini was his side’s undoing at Goodison in September and he knew he couldn’t let the Belgian run the show again, so he used Phil Jones to man-mark the Belgian and in fairness to Jones he did an excellent job.
Jones is a top player and stuck to his task diligently, while United were quick to stop Everton playing from source by closing down Leighton Baines as well.
That leads to the concern that maybe every team could use United’s approach as a template to nullifying Everton?
But the answer is that not every team has a manager as shrewd or – more importantly – players with the discipline and quality to do that type of job.
It must have been a very frustrating afternoon for Fellaini, Pienaar and Baines but in a way it was a back-handed compliment from one of the best managers around.
Let’s hope we don’t see it become a common tactic though.
DAVID MOYES has laid bare concerns Everton's season could fade with a whimper due to the burden placed on his squad.
Everton are in sixth place following Sunday's defeat by Manchester United and are struggling to recover their early-season verve.
"We are asking people such as Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar - who we rely on heavily - and Leighton Baines to put a big shift in and do it for us every week," said Moyes.
"Maybe the numbers will allow us to have a good half season, but not a good full one. I hope I am wrong."