Moyes plans latest spring turnaround

 

The new year at Everton brings a familiar feel. Yet again, David Moyes' side cross the halfway point of the Premier League season having generated some momentum. Yet again, a difficult autumn, following the departures of key players, is slowly brightening into a run of results. And this, so far, in a harder financial climate than ever for the club.

Everton host Bolton Wanderers tonight, fuelled by a four-match unbeaten run which is their longest of the season. Victory this evening would move them up to ninth, still with a game in hand. It looks like the budding of an impressive turnaround, but it would certainly not be the first time. Everton tend to rouse themselves after Christmas: in the last two seasons they were 14th at this stage, and finished eighth in 2009-10 and seventh in 2010-11.

Moyes said yesterday that he hopes for more of the same. "We've not been that consistent this season," he said. "But if you look at our past history, we tend to get better as the season goes on. We tend to go on runs in the new year. I've got to hope this could be the start of one. Everyone is talking about it and drawing my attention to it.

"Sometimes I'd rather just go along quietly and at the end of the season say: 'Hey, we've had another good second half to the season.' "

The Everton manager warned, though, that these spring sequences are based on hard work. "I keep getting reminded about it but there is certainly no guarantee," he said. "Winning games in the Premier League isn't easy."

Driving Everton up the table this year may require even more effort from Moyes. Everton have been unable to replace the creative talents of Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta, both sold last year, and there are fears that Tim Cahill is not quite as sharp as he once was.

Strikers Jermaine Beckford, Yakubu and James Vaughan have all left, too, with no real investment in replacements. It is little surprise, then, that Everton have at times struggled to create chances, their 1-0 home defeat by Stoke last month being a good example. Tonight's likely return of Landon Donovan, on loan once more from Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States, ought to help.

Moyes admitted: "We haven't won enough games. We probably haven't played well enough. We may need to grind a few results out. "

If Everton can continue their rise it would make for one of the most striking trends in English club football. David Weir, who played for five years under Moyes at Everton, could not explain the phenomenon but suggested it might explain in Moyes' training methods.

"He works his teams very hard at the start of the season, so he probably gives them a base whereby the club becomes strong at the end of the season," Weir told The Independent. "You can train to peak at certain times: obviously at this time of the year when there's a busy run of fixtures you need to peak, and at the end of the season as well when the games mean that little bit more."

That sense of timing, combined with fiercely drilled work ethic, will be needed more than ever this season, if Everton are to repeat the feat. "He demands hard work, he doesn't allow anyone to get away from that," Weir added. "That's just a matter of fact. I think Everton have gained a reputation as a hard-working team and a difficult team to beat purely down to that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss