Jack Rodwell wants to break Everton's bad habit

 

Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell believes the side have got into a bad habit of conceding the first goal in matches which is impacting badly on results.

Yesterday's 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke was the seventh time in nine Barclays Premier League games the Toffees had gone behind and ended up losing.

That it resulted in a fourth league defeat in seven matches at Goodison Park this season only compounded the problem.

"It is a bad habit," Rodwell, who made his first Everton appearance since November 5 as a second-half substitute having recovered from a rib injury, told EvertonTV.

"You don't want to concede any time so to go behind early doors you have to claw yourself back into the game and that is difficult."

In truth, what cost Everton more was their regular problem of a lack of cutting edge up front.

The Toffees had more possession, more corners and more shots than their opponents but failed to carve out one decent opening.

Everton's seven goals scored at home is bettered by all their top-flight rivals except QPR and West Brom - even bottom side Wigan have found the net more times on their own ground.

They were not helped by the withdrawal of striker Louis Saha 24 hours before kick-off with yet another injury problem, this time a thigh strain.

It meant manager David Moyes had to give 19-year-old Apostolos Vellios only his second start for the club.

That the Greek Under-21 international is the club's leading scorer with three goals sums up the problems facing Moyes.

"We had an injury to Saha so we gave him a go and he is doing okay," said the Scot.

"Starting the game was a big ask, it was maybe better suited to Louis where you might get a little bit of intelligence in being able to come off players.

"We lacked that bit of creativity which he can give us.

"We didn't do that badly. I think most of the supporters thought we'd eventually score because we kept playing.

"It wasn't as good as what we can do, we know we can play better, but we warranted something from the game and we didn't get it so we have to move on."

Asked whether he would be looking to add more creativity in next month's transfer window Moyes, who has been linked with another loan move for Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, said: "If I could do that I would do."

Stoke replaced Everton in eighth place with only their second away win of the season.

Manager Tony Pulis admitted his side had made their most of their limited chances.

The win was mainly a result of their fifth clean sheet in the league.

"I don't think our goalkeeper had a shot to save and that is testament to the 10 outfield players," he said.

"I think within the team if anyone made a mistake there is always someone there working hard to cover for them.

"It shows the spirit. The place is full of big characters and togetherness and I thought the lads were fantastic.

"Over three and a half years in the Premier League we have played really well at times and not got the results we deserved away from home.

"People have criticised us for not getting the results maybe that we should do but you have to concentrate for 90 minutes."

 

PA

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