Moyes' players are 'hurting'. But can they hurt Arsenal?

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The Independent Football

Tumbling out of the Champions' League qualifiers to Villarreal at least came with the safety net of a place in the Uefa Cup. However, any hope of an extended run appears to have evaporated completely after a 5-1 first-leg defeat to Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday.

Moyes now has the unenviable task of trying to lift his ailing side for the trip to Arsenal. But, after assessing his squad's mood as they returned from Romania, the Scot feels his task will be made easier because of the hurt they displayed at such a humiliating loss. "The players' reactions after the game and on the journey home showed they cared," said Moyes. "They are hurting as much as anyone, which is one positive to take at least. Hopefully, that hurt will come out in the next few games."

Moyes admitted that the Bucharest shambles left him at his lowest ebb as a manager, lower even than the 7-0 defeat at Arsenal last term. With his side heading into the weekend fixtures entrenched in the relegation zone with just three points from their first four games, Moyes knows he needs to lift spirits quickly. "We will not bury our heads in the sand but we will not dwell on the result either. What matters now is getting the team back together and performing to the best level."

He confirmed striker James Beattie would not make the trip after failing to recover from a toe problem which prevented him flying to Romania.

Moyes will at least be encouraged by the words of his latest recruit from Internazionale, Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde, 25, who is out for a month due to a groin injury. His grounding at Ajax, where the skill factor is prized, should win over the fans. "At Ajax I never had to defend. It was my job to get in crosses for the strikers, but in Italy I had to change my game and try to win the ball back. So I know what defensive work is about and I can use that part of my game at Everton."