DAVID MOYES admits patience will be a virtue as Everton look to unpick the defences hampering their charge for a top-four place.
Moyes’s men missed the chance to close up on Tottenham Hotspur in the final Champions League qualification berth when they were held to a goalless draw at home to Swansea City.
It was Everton’s 10th draw in 22 Premier League games this season, half of which have come at home.
The Goodison outfit head for Southampton on Monday evening looking to extend a sequence that has seen them lose just one of their last 10 top-flight matches.
And Moyes accepts Everton’s increasing profile has prompted opponents to treat them with greater caution.
“There’s no doubting that we are in a good run of form just now,” said the Everton manager. “However, we must all remain positive, and at times patience from both the players and the supporters is going to be required.
“We found against Wigan that we had to be patient to get the victory in the game and, in a different way, Chelsea did a job not dissimilar to that in the previous home fixture.”
The lack of cutting edge lamented by Moyes will hopefully be improved once long-term absentees Kevin Mirallas and Darron Gibson return to fitness.
And the Everton manager accepts a small squad means the availability of such key players could prove decisive during the final months of the season.
“I feel it will be vitally important that we get as many of our injured players back to give us a fighting chance in the second half of the campaign,” added Moyes.