Football: Moyes calls for resolve to secure place in Europe

Click to follow
THE EVERTON manager David Moyes has challenged his squad to make sure all their hard work so far this season does not go to waste. Everton, in fourth place in the Premiership, are on course for Champions' League qualification and take on struggling Norwich at Goodison Park tonight.

When asked if he fears the challenge of fifth-placed neighbours Liverpool throughout the rest of the campaign, the Scot insisted Everton would merely continue to concentrate their efforts on catching those teams above them.

"I don't know why you mention Liverpool," said Moyes. "We are looking at the top teams and trying to catch them rather than looking at the teams behind us. Our job is to try to overtake Manchester United; we must be aiming to catch them. We are continuing to look forward and at the teams above us."

Moyes fought hard during the past month's transfer window to bring in players who can secure that coveted fourth place in the table. The on- loan Spaniard Mikel Arteta is the latest arrival, although a knee injury will stop the former Barcelona player facing the Canaries. Moyes has also signed James Beattie and the French youngster Guillaume Plessis, but missed out on Tottenham's winger Simon Davies and a couple of other major targets.

"There were others," he said. "We made a bid for Simon Davies but that is all I want to say about the window now it is shut. We have to go with what we have got and I believe we are still set for a great season."

Moyes sees Arteta, the former Rangers midfielder, as a key acquisition for the final months of the season.

"Mikel is young, had a good spell at Rangers and was a firm favourite there," he said. "They sold him reluctantly to his hometown team at Real Sociedad. That hasn't worked for him and we have done well to get him on loan so that both sides can see whether we like each other and the fans can see what he can do. At the end of the season we will all be able to make our minds up about the future.

"He has a grasp of the football expected here. He did well at Rangers, so he is well aware what it is all about. He has been at Paris St-Germain [and] played for all levels of the Spanish system so there is no doubt he has plenty of ability. Now we will take the opportunity to see if he can fit into what we do.

"He can provide something similar to Thomas Gravesen, but I do not intend putting that sort of pressure on him because they are totally different players. But we have obviously needed another midfield player and the way the market is at the moment - very difficult - we have done well to sign him."

As well as Arteta's injury, Moyes has minor injury doubts over Duncan Ferguson (hip), Alan Stubbs (groin), Steve Watson (stomach muscle) and Lee Osman (knee). The veteran goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, however, is pushing for a return to the first team after Richard Wright's less than convincing display against Sunderland in the FA Cup last weekend.