Moyes feels strain over cruel luck

Everton manager admits that the club's injury crisis is starting to 'drag him down'

David Moyes won't look back on October 2009 with much pleasure. In fact, he will positively wince whenever he recalls the period which has seen him suffer some of his darkest hours since becoming Everton manager.

In six games over the last four weeks Everton have managed just one victory, against Europa League minnows BATE Borisov. Results that promise to linger in the memories of those connected with the Merseyside club however are more likely to be chastening defeats to Benfica and Tottenham, along with disappointing home draws against Wolves and Stoke. Just to rub salt into Everton's wounds, Moyes's men were left on their knees when Bolton snatched a late victory at the Reebok after Moyes's side had fought back from a two goal deficit.

Yet these setbacks only tell half the story. At the same time, Everton's medical room at the club's Finch Farm training complex has resembled an A & E department at one of the city's busy hospitals.

Moyes has never known anything like it. He is not one to feel sorry for himself and will plough on regardless, but there is plenty of sympathy for someone who doesn't have the largest squad of players to begin with, or the finances at his disposal to sign replacements.

Moyes's cruel luck started last season and has shown no signs of abating. Yakubu was struck down with a serious Achilles injury which threatened his career and removed him from the manager's plans for nine months, while Mikel Arteta suffered damaged knee ligaments in February and has not been seen since. He is still a month away from returning at least and his absence, along with that of Phil Jagielka due to a similar injury, has been the catalyst for Everton's demise.

Last week Moyes showed the first signs of cracking under the strain of fitting square pegs in round holes.

"The injuries are beginning to drag me down,'' he said, "It is beginning to weigh on us. The other thing is, it is weighing on the players as the same few are having to dig deep all the time. The injury list is a long one, but we will keep putting the best eleven players out that we can. I'm relying on the medical staff to do their job and help us.

"There are injuries at every club, It's all part of it, but you need your better players available to win games and the sooner we get them back the better."

Joining Arteta and Jagielka on the sidelines are captain Phil Neville (knee), James Vaughan (knee), Leon Osman (foot), Victor Anichebe (knee) and Leighton Baines (calf). Currently struggling for fitness are Joseph Yobo (head), Steven Pienaar (knee), Louis Saha (calf) and Russian international Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (groin). Some have been and will continue to be asked to play through the pain barrier, such is Moyes's lack of options.

During this period of debilitation, Everton have slumped down the table to within just four points of the relegation zone.

Moyes has not been helped by having to prepare his side for a recent and ridiculous run of three games in six days, including Tuesday's Carling Cup defeat at White Hart Lane, a fixture he tried but failed to have put back 24 hours.

Little wonder then that Moyes bristles at questions regarding his injured troops. He is clearly tired of being reminded of his current plight. He added: "We have been without some of our best players, certainly for half of last season and now the start of this. Sooner or later it will take its toll in performances and some of the results.

"But I'd hate to think people thought I was whingeing about injuries. I'm not like that. In fact I'm quite the opposite. We've got injuries like everyone else, but we'll get eleven players out there to play against Aston Villa."

Everton host Villa today and Moyes's starting line-up is anyone's guess. Everton beat Villa at Goodison Park 3-1 in the FA Cup last season en route to the final and Moyes would kill for a similar result. Villa, however, have no such injury problems and go in search of a Merseyside double having already beaten Liverpool at Anfield earlier this season. And there might, just might, be some light at the end of the long, dark tunnel Moyes has found himself in.

Baines is confident of overcoming his calf problem in time to face Villa, while Neville has reiterated his desire for a return in time for the game at former club Manchester United in three weeks. Neville said: "I really want to be back training and helping the guys out. I am hoping to be back for the Man United game. But you never know.

"That would be eight weeks after the injury and the surgeon said it was a 12-week injury. It just depends on how it is healing and how it is progressing.

"I am back running now, which is good, so we'll take each day as it comes. In an ideal world I would love to be fit for the Man United game, after the next international break."

Sickie Toffees: Everton's injury list

Victor Anichebe (knee) Injured ligaments at Newcastle in February, due back mid to late November.

Mikel Arteta (knee) Ruptured cruciate ligaments in the same match. Due back towards the end of next month.

Leighton Baines (calf) Could return today.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (thigh) Doubtful for today.

Phil Jagielka (knee) Ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments in May, due back at end of November.

Phil Neville (knee) Injured posterior ligaments at Fulham last month, not due back for another four weeks.

Leon Osman (foot) Out for three weeks after recurrence of ankle injury.

Steven Pienaar (knee) Not featured since win at Portsmouth at the end of last month. Out for a further week.

James Vaughan (knee) Returned from loan at Derby County after picking up injury. Out for a further two months.

Joseph Yobo (concussion) Doubtful for today's match.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn