DAVID MOYES believes Everton’s battling display at Manchester City underlines how far they have progressed during the past 12 months.
Moyes’s men continued their excellent recent record against the moneybags Premier League champions with a richly-deserved 1-1 draw at Eastlands on Saturday.
While having now lost only two of their last 11 meetings between the sides, the Goodison manager attracted criticism for a perceived negative approach in their most recent defeat at City in September last year.
Everton, though, were much more attacking at the weekend with only a late save from Joe Hart from a Nikica Jelavic free-kick denying them victory.
And Moyes is convinced his team, who have only lost two of their last 24 top-flight games, are now a much sterner proposition.
“Last year we came and marked Silva, albeit Silva was the best player in the Premier League at that time by a long way, but also we probably weren’t in the mental condition we are now,” said the Goodison manager.
“I think we have got confidence, the players are playing really well, we are just lacking maybe getting over the edge.
“I don’t want to be a manager who keeps saying we’re playing well and not winning because I’d rather be a manager whose team weren’t playing well and winning it.
“But the facts are there to see and I have to hope that good performances lead to good results.”
Saturday’s draw came four days after a similarly impressive display yielded the same scoreline at home to Arsenal.
And Moyes said: “The way we have been playing, we wanted to go to City and try to make a challenge. I think the game against Arsenal as much as this one against Manchester City shows we can have a go.
“Whether we’ll ever have enough to be right among those teams when it comes to it… but we’re not a million miles off them on a Saturday, we can be quite close to them.
“It’s difficult to come to City – our players have improved and the quality we have got have given us a chance to come here and give it a go.
“But any team who comes here are going to have it tough because they’re very good at keeping the ball and they have got players who can score in different fashions – Dzeko, Aguero, Tevez, Balotelli.
“You would have to expect Man City to have some of the game and they certainly did that after half time but I thought we had our fair share of the game before that.”
Despite a resolve that has seen only City lose fewer Premier League games this season, Everton have drawn seven of their last nine games to slip from second down to sixth place, three points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.
“We should have had more points,” admitted Moyes. “It’s not been today’s point or the point against Arsenal, it’s a couple of games before that where we’ve let winning positions slip to draw them.
“It’s very rare it’s been coming back from a losing position to draw, it’s winning positions we’ve let slip.
“Can we finish top four? I think it will be hard for us over the piece, it’ll be a big thing for us to be there. I think when we play over 90 minutes against someone we’ve got a good chance.
“Can we do it over 38 games? We’re missing Kevin Mirallas, Victor Anichebe, we’re just short of other forward options at times to maybe win us the games, that’s why we’re always had the draws.”