Having won just two of their last nine games in all competitions, Everton’s players have been lining up to concede they need the kickstart of victory at home to Sunderland this afternoon to prevent themselves losing further ground at the top of the table.
While fourth, Everton are five points behind third-placed Manchester City with a mere three points separating them from 10th-placed Newcastle United.
And Moyes adds: “I remember the year we got into the Champions League in 2005 we had 22 points after 10 games, so we are nowhere near that.
“We’ve not reached that target, but I’m hoping we can stay up near to the top. It might not always be that way all year. But I’ve emphasised to the players the important of keeping it going and keep winning games.
“The players have been excellent and if they play like they did against Fulham in most weeks then I won’t be complaining too much.”
Moyes was an observer during the latest round of Champions League and Europa League matches in midweek.
And, given the encouragement of the opening months of the campaign, the Scot has allowed thoughts of a return to Continental combat to enter his thinking, with Everton having been absent since defeat at Sporting Lisbon in 2010.
“I remember when we had European football at Everton and I miss it,” says Moyes. “It was terrific. People say playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday is difficult, and it is. But I miss that. Everton miss that.
“Our first target is always to be safe and then look whether there’s any chance to be in top 10. Qualifying for European football would be great if we could get back to that.”
Moyes has never lost to Sunderland as a manager, and will be confident of extending that record this afternoon with the Black Cats struggling under Martin O’Neill this season.
Steven Fletcher remains the only Sunderland player to have scored in the Premier League this season, with the Wearsiders suffering a dismal 1-0 home defeat to O’Neill’s former charges Aston Villa last weekend.
Moyes, though, believes the Northern Irishman can guide the team to safer shores – after this weekend.
“I know Martin quite well,” says the Scot. “I’ve been round the block with him a few times. He has obviously been a really successful manager.
“I think Sunderland will be fine. They are a good club with a good chairman, they are a big-supported club.
“You’d put Martin in the elite band of managers so I don’t think there’ll be any problem with Martin or Sunderland.