Nev Reveals Moyes Motivation
Blues captain lauds Goodison chief for inspirational semi-final team-talk.
Phil Neville has revealed how an inspirational team-talk by manager David Moyes triggered Everton's FA Cup semi-final defeat of Manchester United.
The Blues captain enjoyed one of his finest performances in a Royal Blue jersey as the Toffees upset the odds to reach the final of the competition for the first time since winning it in 1995.
And Neville, who spent 11 seasons sampling success with Manchester United, believes his current boss came up with the perfect plan to combat Sir Alex Ferguson's quintuple-hunting side.
“I thought the manager won us the game,” declared Neville. “On Tuesday he gave us one of the best team talks I have heard and that set us up for the week.
“He set us up to attack Manchester United, not be fearful but to be positive. He instilled belief.
“Beating Liverpool gave us the belief we can go on and beat any team. We need to show that again in the final.
“We have just got more confident with every round. We have got Chelsea now in the final and anything can happen. We have stepped up to the plate in every round and now we aim to do it in the final.”
Growing in influence throughout the game, it was no surprise to see Neville lead by example in the penalty shootout.
“It was a difficult day for me, to score a penalty but know you cannot celebrate in the face of those who have helped you so much in your career," he said. "This was like a Cup final for the fans but now we are coming back again in four weeks time.
“Hopefully then we will play better than in this semi-final, but the experience of it will help us. Before the game I would have said the semi-final should not have been at Wembley. I was really against it and thought it should have been played in Manchester or Villa Park.
“Ask me now and I would say I was glad it was here because it is a fantastic feeling to win at Wembley.”
It's a feeling Neville is keen to experience again on Everton's return to the capital on May 30.
For now, though, he is proud to say he is captain of a side he always felt had the potential to fight for trophies.
“I came to Everton because the manager promised me we would be challenging for honours,” he continued. “I did not want to end my career closing the trophy cabinet doors. I didn’t come here to wind down or step back in any way. I spoke with the manager and listened to his plans and I was impressed. It has taken some time but I think we are getting closer to delivering on that promise.
“Winning a trophy is better than a good league placing. What do you get for finishing fifth or sixth in the league, for losing a Carling Cup semi-final to Chelsea or going out valiantly to Fiorentina in the Uefa Cup? As players, nothing.
“We need a trophy and that is our next big hurdle. It is about time this team started winning trophies again and hopefully if we can win this it will put us back in the big time.
“Winning silverware can give you confidence and help to attract better players. For so long we have been fighting against the elements – a small squad and lack of money but we have stuck together.
“I am very proud of what is going on here. I was used to winning things at United but they say that your next success is the best and I believe that.
“But I am experienced enough to know that we have won nothing yet. The semi was a truly great occasion for us and our fans, but it was only a semi. We have to do this again to get our hands on a trophy.”