Moyes: Handle The Occasion
Boss confident Blues can book a return trip to Wembley.
David Moyes wants his players to use their big game experience in this weekend’s FA Cup showdown with Wigan Athletic.
Everton once again find themselves in the latter stages of the competition after finishing runners-up in 2009 and making a semi-final appearance last season.
Wigan, on the other hand, have only previously reached the last eight once before, back in 1980 when they lost 2-0 to Leeds United.
Consequently, Moyes is confident that the Blues’ previous know-how can work in their favour and help them book a return Wembley visit.
“I think they [the players] are used to these games,” said Moyes. “Three out of the last five years we have been in quarter-finals, so we are beginning to get a bit more used to it.
“Hopefully the game isn’t too big that we can’t handle it but, in the same breath, there is a high enough level of anxiety to realise how important it is.
“I wouldn’t say that we are becoming a better cup team but I think we are becoming a team that is finding a way to win the games.
“The most important thing against Wigan is that we get through.”
Wigan have eliminated Bournemouth, Macclesfield and Huddersfield to progress through to the quarter-finals for the first time in 33 years.
The Latics currently sit outside the Premier League’s relegation zone on goal difference and, with just ten top-flight fixtures to play, boss Roberto Martinez has gone on record to state that he could ring the changes for Saturday’s clash.
Moyes, however, is cautious that Wigan could see Saturday’s tie as not only a chance to book a first appearance at the new Wembley but also as a means of getting their league form back on track following a 4-0 home loss to Liverpool six days ago.
“I think it is a way of easing the pressure on his players,” said Moyes of the Spaniard’s comments earlier in the week. “I think it is a way of saying that this game doesn’t matter as much as the Premier League, which it doesn’t because staying in the Premier League will be more important.
“What that does is give his players the chance to relax a little bit, enjoy the game and not feel quite as much pressure.
“I’ve got no doubt that Roberto will be more concerned about his Premier League form but would be hoping to use this as a platform to get some wins and confidence around the club.”
Everton have already taken four points from the league meetings against Wigan this season, but only one goal separates the sides from those two matches.
A late Leighton Baines penalty salvaged a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium in October, while strikes from Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka helped secure a narrow 2-1 victory in the return fixture on Boxing Day.
“As everybody is well aware, we’ve played Wigan twice already this season so we know each other quite well,” Moyes continued. “The games were close and we know that it is not going to be much different.
“They are a good football team and he [Martinez] has tried to make sure they pass the ball well. He has varied his teams and formations recently but, overall, you know what you get with Wigan. They are a good footballing side with good individual players.“