Moyes calls for 'mental strength' in adversity

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The Independent Football

Only five months ago Moyes inflicted a rare defeat on his Stamford Bridge rival by claiming the League Managers' Association's manager of the year award for guiding a threadbare Everton squad into the fourth Champions' League place. Now, having spent what equates to Abramovich-like wealth at Goodison only to discover that finance is no guarantor of fortune, the Everton manager has more reason to appreciate Mourinho's ability to declare and deliver.

"Chelsea have real talent and they have a manager who is fearless," said the Scot. "When you have a manager like that it goes right through the team and the club and it is a very powerful position to be in. He has made statements that every manager has thought at some time but wouldn't dare say. He has not only been brave enough to say what he thinks but he has delivered on what he has said as well, and he deserves a lot of credit for that."

Despite a dreadful start and the money spent Moyes knows he retains the full backing of the Everton board, with chairman Bill Kenwright paying an impromptu visit to the team's London hotel before the defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend to remind the players of that fact. "I've got great support from the board so I am not worried, although I would never take that support for granted," said Moyes. "It was only a few months ago we were fourth and Chelsea were first in the Premier League. The gap between us was not massive then, but it looks huge now and we are going to have to get even closer to them on Sunday because they beat us twice last season 1-0."

Chelsea's aura of invincibility, coupled with Everton's brittle confidence, heightens the prospect of Moyes presiding over a seventh consecutive League defeat tomorrow, the club's worst ever start to a Premiership season. But he insisted: "I wouldn't say we are in a relegation fight at the moment but it is a difficult one. We are not in a good position, that's for sure, but it is still early and we have a terrific group of players. They need to show more mental strength than we have been doing - we are fragile and when we concede a goal it has been soul-destroying - but we beat Liverpool when we needed to last season and Manchester United when we really needed to and now we need a repeat."

The club record signing James Beattie, who has failed to impress since joining the club from Southampton, could be handed a start following his recovery from injury and the striker is eager to impress. "It has been difficult for me, but there is only one person who can put that right and it's me. I intend to do that this season," he said. "I have had fans knocking me all my career and I have always come through the other side and proved them wrong.

The Dutch international Andy van der Meyde will not be considered as the £2m summer signing continues his rehabilitation from a long-term groin problem.

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