David Moyes rubbishes Fellaini claim

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The Independent Football

Everton manager David Moyes has defended his decision to play Marouane Fellaini against Sunderland last week following criticism from the player's father.

Abdellatif Fellaini hit out at the Merseyside club after his son was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury which requires surgery.

The 23-year-old Belgium international picked up the injury at Chelsea a fortnight ago and Fellaini senior believes he should have been rested for the visit of the Wearsiders last Saturday.

Fellaini aggravated the problem in a challenge with Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and was substituted after 42 minutes.

It is the second successive year Fellaini has had his season ended prematurely by a serious ankle injury.

"Marouane is really in a desperate state," Abdellatif Fellaini said in Gazet van Antwerpen.

"He should never have played that last game against Sunderland. He should never have been allowed to play because he was already injured."

Moyes has rejected any suggestion Everton would risk a player's wellbeing.

The Scot said: "That's completely wrong. We would never do that, it's a load of rubbish.

"We had to hold the boy back from training on the Tuesday and Thursday and he trained Friday.

"His dad's maybe upset because the boy is going to have another operation on Monday.

"Who would do that? We wouldn't - of course we wouldn't.

"We certainly wouldn't risk Marouane Fellaini, who has arguably been our best player this season."

It has been a difficult week for Moyes after his team were dumped out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage by Championship side Reading on Tuesday.

Moyes had hoped his team's memorable win at Chelsea in a fourth-round replay would prove a turning point in an inconsistent campaign.

They followed it up by beating Sunderland 2-0 to move into mid-table in the Barclays Premier League but the Reading reverse has proved another major setback.

Again the focus is on the little-spending Toffees' proximity to the relegation zone - five points above the bottom three with 11 games remaining - rather than a possible late push for a European place.

Moyes today kept short his media briefing to preview tomorrow's testing league trip to Newcastle.

He said: "We get on with our work, that's the job. In any line of work you come in every day and get on with your work.

"We will try to win the next game, the next game is always the most important and we will try to win that one.

"It is a chance to pick up three points. We have 11 games left and we will see if we can win as many of those as we possibly can.

"But it is a big test. I think Newcastle have done well, as have all the promoted teams."

Moyes, who reaches the ninth anniversary of his appointment at Goodison Park later this month, has bounced back from cup shocks in the past.

He said: "I had to come back from the result against Shrewsbury a few years ago, and I had to come back from the result against Oldham.

"If you look at the results and performances in the last few years I think you'll find we tend to do that.

"It's frustrating because you want to be consistent.

"The players will have to play their part as well. They need to get on with it and show what they are about and in the main they have done that.

"We will try to do everything we can to take three points.

"The way the league has been this year if you lose one you are looking down and if you win one you are looking up. I hope we are looking up after Saturday night.

"We have shown some good performances in other games and we have to try to get up to that level of performance."

Everton will be without another influential midfielder at St James' Park with Tim Cahill ruled out for up to three weeks with a foot injury.

Yet Moyes still has much of the squad which lost just two of their final 24 games last season together, and believes they can fire again.

"There are a lot of good players in there and a lot of strong characters," he said.

"I have got a lot of trust in them, I believe in them. They are good players and that hasn't changed."