What The Papers Say - 21 April
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
PHIL NEVILLE believes David Moyes was the real hero of Everton’s famous FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United.
The Goodison outfit are now preparing for their first major final in 14 years after beating their North West rivals on penalties following a tense goalless draw.
But skipper Neville reckons manager Moyes deserves to take credit for the victory after a stirring address to his squad in the build-up to Sunday’s match.
“I thought the manager won us the game,” said the 32-year-old. “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.”
Neville was among the Everton players to score during the shoot-out, which took place at the end where United’s supporters were based.
And having spent much of his career at Old Trafford, he admitted: “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. 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 Manches-ter 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.”
Neville believes Everton are now beginning to realise the trophy-winning potential that persuaded him to move to Goodison in the summer of 2005.
“I came to Everton because the manager promised me we would be challenging for honours,” he said. “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.”
Neville added: “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.”
IT’S the old cliche to regard supporters as the 12th man. But for Tim Cahill, the Everton supporters at Wembley played a definite part in ensuring an historic afternoon for their team.
Those fans are already planning a return trip to the home of English football after David Moyes’s side continued towards their date with destiny on Sunday.
The dramatic FA Cup semi-final defeat of Manchester United on penalties secured Everton their place in a major final for the first time since 1995.
On an almost unbearably tense afternoon, Moyes’s men held their nerve to set up a showdown with Chelsea on May 30 and a chance of silverware after a 14-year wait.
But while the game was agonisingly close on the pitch, in the stands there was simply no contest, the Everton faithful deafening their United rivals in a remarkable outpouring of emotion.
And Cahill is convinced that backing helped the Goodison outfit discover their second wind during extra time.
“We could see the fans rooting for us, to give us the extra edge,” says the Australian. “You could see going out for extra-time that we were finding gears we didn’t previously have.
“A lot of players had cramps and we were out there a long time playing, it was warm and maybe in the past we might have faded away.
“But the players remained resilient.
“We felt more power the game was going on because of that backing.
“It felt more like a home game for us. But Everton fans are always like that. They are always passionate.”
Everton’s final berth – their 13th appearance at the showpiece occasion – was further evidence Moyes’s side are emerging from the shadow of Liverpool, who they eliminated earlier in the competition.
But Cahill says: “We’re not arsed what Liverpool do. This is all about us. We don’t worry what they’re doing. They’re obviously a great team and a great football club, but we’re only bothered about Everton and what we do. But this is beautiful for our supporters.
“This is what they turn up for. They believe in us and we believe in them.”
Despite already eliminating three of the five teams that currently stand above them in the Premier League table, Everton will once again be the underdogs against Chelsea at Wembley.
Cahill, though, has grown accustomed to defying expectations of others during his career, and has an unshakeable belief in completing the job in six weeks’ time.
“I don’t think a lot of people thought we’d get to the final,” he says.
“But we’ve proved everyone wrong again, and we’ll have to do it once more in the final.
“We’ve had a difficult run of games to the final, but coming into the semi-final against United we kept positive on how we’ve been playing, how well we’ve been moving the ball about and the way we’ve been winning games.
“For us, to get through to the final the way we have isn’t a surprise.
“We try so hard to achieve these goals, and the belief and passion we show means we can gain these rewards.”
Cahill adds: “We’re past caring what people think of us. Others can feel what they like about what we do, but we’ve won and we’re there in the final.
“We’re on the verge of something here. We know it’s going to be a difficult game against good players, but this is exactly what you come into football for.”
Matters were threatening to transpire differently when Cahill ballooned Everton’s first penalty in the shoot-out over the crossbar.
The Australian had done exactly the same with his last penalty at club level when spurning the chance to complete a hat-trick playing for Millwall against West Ham United in 2004.
And though relieved it ultimately proved academic, Cahill is determined to atone for his mistake by netting the winner in the final next month.
“It feels amazing,” says the 29-year-old. “It’s always so disheartening when you miss a penalty but when you play with so many great players, you know they will get you out of it and I’m absolutely over the moon.
“It’s for the lads, the staff, the management, our supporters; you can see that we left everything out there for them and it is just a credit to this football club.
“We try so hard to achieve these goals.
“You look around the dressing room and you know there are players there who will pick up the pieces if a mistake is made. It’s crazy.
“I have been a long time at Everton and am someone who calls themselves a Blue.
“I’m very passionate about the club.
“I felt confident when I stepped up to take the penalty but sometime things go wrong. For a split second, I couldn’t hear anything or see anything. I could see the goal but everything around it went blank.
“Mentally I feel fine now but hopefully when it comes around to the cup final, I’ll score the winner and make up for it. But we are there.
“We’ve done it and I’m going to show how I can pick myself up.”
With the backing of those passionate supporters, Cahill and Everton must now believe anything is possible.
EVERTON goalkeeper Tim Howard feels he is much wiser now than when thrust into the spotlight at Manchester United – and all the better for his experiences.
The 30-year-old American returned to haunt his old club with two crucial saves in the FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out win at Wembley.
“When I first came to England six years ago, I had a lot to learn,” said Howard, who signed from Major League Soccer club MetroStars.
“There is no question I am a better goalkeeper because of the three years I spent at United.
“At 30, I am slowly starting to become the goalkeeper I expected and wanted to be.”
Howard insisted: “The best thing in my career was playing those three years at United.
“I probably learned more from the disappointments than anything else.
“Sir Alex was fair with me, I have no bones to pick.
“I am better now because I played there.”
Howard also feels his switch to Goodison has worked out for the best.
“David Moyes spoke to me and sold me hook, line and sinker. It was a place I wanted to be,” he recalled.
“All the things I spoke to him about three years ago have come to pass and his honesty has been rewarded.
“He has put together a good squad, which he has been building for four or five years now, and we all believe in this club.
“The spirit is what keeps us going.
“We have got some guys in the team who refuse to give up and are fun to be around.
“United are expected to get to finals, Everton have not been to one for 14 years.
“The manager makes no bones about it – if we want to go down in history, we have to win some silverware for this club.”
Self-deprecation is one of Phil Neville's endearing traits. Like the story he once told of wanting to swap shirts with a Real Madrid galáctico after a memorable European night at Old Trafford.
He knocked on the away dressing-room, handed his shirt to the Real kit man and waited patiently. A few minutes later the door opened and an outstretched arm thrust Neville's red Manchester United shirt straight back. The message from Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Raúl and Ronaldo was “thanks, but you can keep it”.
Then there was the time, against Fiorentina in the Uefa Cup last season, when he eagerly volunteered to take a penalty for Everton in the shoot-out. “But for some reason,” he recalled, “David Moyes kept pretending he couldn't hear me.”
There are those who have treated Neville throughout his career as though he has a lot to be modest about, but they discovered on Sunday how little they know of the man when, as the FA Cup semi-final against United entered the drama of another shoot-out, only one Everton player was absolutely insistent on taking a spot-kick.
Neville did not just volunteer to take one, but said that he would happily go first when there was every reason to hide. Why put himself under that pressure when no one expected him to step forward? Why risk undoing all the good work he has done to win over Everton fans sceptical about his allegiances after a lifetime at United? Imagine the consequences if he had missed.
Why enter an emotional maelstrom by taking a penalty against a team supported by his family, whom he represented man and boy and are still captained by his brother, Gary? “I'd never taken a penalty in a game,” Neville said, “but sometimes in life you have to do things you don't want to do. I knew I had to do it for myself, more than anything.
“It might have been different if we'd have been playing Chelsea, I don't know. I just felt this was a big moment. I had to stand up and be counted.”
Some might say it was fated when they hear that last month, after the quarter-final victory over Middlesbrough, Neville's wife, Julie, told him on the drive home that he should start practising spot-kicks just in case they came up against United. So Neville did. “I must have taken 100 of them, whipped exactly into the same spot, over those few weeks,” he said.
Sensibly, Everton had come up with a strategy that a player should take a penalty in practice and then hone one particular technique. Even Tim Cahill's blast over the bar was based on rigorous preparation because he had, until then, been driving them into the roof of the net consistently.
“It's funny,” Neville said, “but I knew I was going to score. As I walked up, I thought my wife would be crying with worry, but I had perfected exactly what I wanted to do. I felt absolutely sure of it.”
Penalty shoot-outs are often, wrongly, described as a lottery when actually they can reveal a footballer's nature, if only for a fleeting second. And Neville's foresight, his meticulous preparation and his guts were rewarded with one of the most uplifting moments of his career.
“Character is fate,” Thomas Hardy wrote in The Mayor of Casterbridge, and he might have been describing penalty shoot-outs. If it was fate, Neville's character certainly shaped his.
Phil Neville believes that Everton are ready to deliver on their manager's promise they will become a trophy-winning team.
The Goodison skipper is confident that his side's dramatic shoot-out victory over Manchester United to reach the FA Cup Final is just the start of Blues' glory days.
Neville turned his back on Old Trafford for the lure of regular firstteam football at Everton.
And he revealed that the deciding factor in persuading him to move was a promise from boss David Moyes that the club would emerge as challengers for silverware.
"I came to Everton because the manager promised me we would be challenging for honours," Neville said. "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.
"It's what I expect. That promise, that idea is what drives us all on, because we are a squad with desire to do well.
"I expect to be winning trophies, and I think it is the same for the rest of the players now. They have the belief that they can bring trophies to this club."
Neville believes that Everton can win the FA Cup - even though moneybags Chelsea provide the daunting opposition.
The Blues captain feels his club are on the verge of something big...as the try to lift a trophy for the first time in 14 years. "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," Neville said.
"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."
Not that the veteran midfielder is picturing his hands on the silverware just yet.
His days at Old Trafford taught him never to take anything for granted - but he feels Everton have the belief to take on and beat even Chelsea, after their incredible Cup run which has already seen them overcome Liverpool, Aston Villa and now United.
"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," Neville added.
"We have to do this again to get our hands on a trophy. Hopefully then we will play better than in this semi-final, but the experience of it will certainly help us.
"United are a world-class team, but beating them typifies our Cup run after also coming past Liverpool and Aston Villa.
"Beating Liverpool gave us the belief we can go on and beat any team. We need to show that again in the final."
TIM CAHILL has vowed to wipe out the agony of his spot-kick shocker by bagging the FA Cup final winner.
Cahill blazed his penalty way over the bar in Sunday’s semi-final before his Everton pals saved his blushes with their dramatic shootout win over Manchester United.
Now the relieved Aussie plans to make amends by becoming the Toffees’ matchwinning hero when they return to Wembley to face the Blues of Chelsea on May 30.
Cahill, 29, admitted: “I felt confident when I stepped up to take the penalty but sometimes things go wrong.
“For a split second I couldn’t hear anything or see anything. I could see the goal but everything around it went blank.
“Mentally, I feel fine now but hopefully when it comes around to the Cup final, I’ll score the winner and make up for it. I’m going to show how I can pick myself up.”
Even Everton fans were shocked with their shootout triumph, given that United won the Champions League, Community Shield and Carling Cup that way — and the only men to step up to the spot for the Toffees this term were missing.
Mikel Arteta and Yakubu are both out injured, while on-loan Jo is cup-tied.
Midfielder Cahill was first to take one, despite not doing so at club level since an effort for Millwall five years ago ended up in the back of the stand.
Yet Leighton Baines, Phil Neville, James Vaughan and Phil Jagielka all scored from the spot, while keeper Tim Howard denied Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand to give Everton a real chance of lifting the FA Cup for the first time since 1995.
Cahill added: “It’s so disheartening when you miss a penalty but, when you play with so many great players, you know they’ll get you out of it and it feels amazing.
“You look around the dressing room and you know there are players there who will pick up the pieces if a mistake is made. It’s crazy.”
It will be Cahill’s second FA Cup final, having lost to United in 2004 during his Millwall days. But this time he knows he goes with a serious chance of glory.
He said: “It was some experience with Millwall but this is one where we have a massive chance of winning.
“We have got to go into the game thinking we can do it. We have so much belief.”
Victory was especially sweet for skipper Neville, who spent 16 years at Old Trafford.
Neville, who missed his last spot-kick as an 11-year-old, insisted boss David Moyes was the real hero of the hour.
He said: “The manager won us the game. On Tuesday he gave us one of the best team-talks I’ve ever heard. That set us up for the week.
“He told us to attack United, not to be fearful but to be positive. He instilled belief in all of us.
“I’m very proud of what is going on here. I was used to winning things at United but they say your next success is the best and I believe that.”