Everton 'panicking' after dismal start

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The Independent Football

The Everton striker Marcus Bent has admitted there is a growing sense of panic surrounding the club, with a crisis in confidence in the wake of their "soul-destroying" early Champions' League exit.

However, he promised to ensure Everton recover - starting this weekend against Wigan - and insisted the squad still retain faith in their manager, David Moyes. Even Moyes is struggling to explain Everton's descent from last season's fourth-place finish , with seven defeats in their opening eight games in all competitions.

With just six weeks of the season gone, they on the verge of being knocked out of the Uefa Cup as well, with just one league victory and a solitary League goal.

Bent said: "There is a bit of panicking going on, there is a lot of confidence lost at the moment and a few people feeling tired. Fans will say 'how can you be tired at the moment, it's only the first couple of games'. But sometimes you can be emotionally and mentally tired after a lot of travelling.

"We are not creating much at the moment and that is frustrating. There are a few new players but I don't want people to think we are making excuses.

"We are a little bit low but we will pick ourselves up. We are a together bunch and the only thing we can do is go training and try to put it right. If we knew what was wrong, we wouldn't have started the way we have. We get statistics very week about our work-rate and they are always high.

"Maybe it just the way we are playing football, the way we are going about it. A few too many mistakes, and that is what we have to work hard to put right. But we played one up front last season and it worked really well. And it still can work. Tim Cahill is a good player and he showed his worth last year. He will come good, although he's not playing badly now."

Injuries have affected Everton, with James Beattie and the new signing Andy van der Meyde among those still out, but a drop in confidence seems to be the underlying cause.

Everton's self-belief was affected by their Champions League final qualifying round defeat by Villarreal, with a 5-1 humiliation away to Dinamo Bucharest in the Uefa Cup first round soon afterwards.

Bent added: "To play in the Champions' League and go out in the way we did was soul-destroying. We knew they were a massive side, could play football and it was going to be hard. But I keep going back to last year, because that is the main factor, that is where we achieved something. We know we can get back to that."

Indeed, Bent drew positives from Everton's refusal to surrender in the second half of their defeat at Highbury on Monday night, holding their 2-0 deficit rather than collapsing to lose 7-0 as they did back in May.

"Arsenal are a great side, but we lost by a big margin last year, and with the way we have been playing the past couple of weeks, to lose 2-0 at Highbury was a bit of a bonus for us," he said.

"We are looking to Saturday because that is where we think our season will start. We have got to get confidence out of the game."