DAVID MOYES believes his “gamble” on delaying contract talks until the end of the season can be no excuse for Everton FC not taking a step nearer Wembley this evening.
Moyes’s men entertain npower League One strugglers Oldham Athletic in their FA Cup fifth round replay with the reward a home tie against Wigan Athletic in the last eight.
Saturday’s surprise 2-1 Premier League defeat at Norwich City dealt a major blow to hopes of Champions League qualification and prompted fresh fears the failure to strengthen in the January transfer window is undermining hopes of a strong finish to the campaign, with Everton having not won since the deadline.
But Moyes has dismissed such talk and is convinced speculation over his future is also no reason for the recent dip in form.
“You know it would be easy to yes, the transfer window has had an effect on our performances since, just as it would be very easy to say it has got anything to do with my contract – it would be easy to make those excuses,” said the Everton manager.
“But at the end of the day it’s not had an effect. It’s about the players we have got, and the players we have got have been working great for the past year.
“The truth is, from January to January we have outperformed most clubs.
“I don’t know how many defeats we’ve had in the past year, but it’s not many and you know something I think there’ll be very few teams with a record similar to us, and very few teams who have done as well as us, so hey – the players may be entitled to a wee dip.
“As soon as we get a negative result, people are trying to write off our season. I have been expecting somebody to ask me what happens if we don’t get through against Oldham.”
Moyes preferred to accentuate the positives and added: “I’d say, look at our situation – how many clubs don’t have anything to play for at this stage of the season?
“We have, we are still in a really good position. We are sixth in the table, we have a replay in the cup at home to get into the quarter-final.
“If we’d just gone sixth and had this game to get into the quarter-final, we’d be saying ‘hey, this is good’. So we have to try and look at it in another fashion.”
Moyes had initially been expected to hold contract talks this month but subsequently announced they would be deferred until he could gauge Everton’s progress at the end of the season.
And the Goodison manager admitted: “I just want to wait and see where we are, so yeah, maybe it could be seen as me taking a gamble, but I don’t want it to be seen as us making any excuses here over my contract or the transfer window.
“We have no excuses here, we try and take it as men if we can. Yeah we have a moan at the referees, but we try and take what we get on the chin and move on, and try to use it to make us better.”
Victor Anichebe, who limped off at half-time in the 2-2 draw with Oldham at Boundary Park 10 days ago, remains a doubt with Moyes also waiting on “one or two” players who suffered knocks in the weekend Carrow Road loss.
Tony Hibbert (calf) remains out while Darron Gibson will play despite the news the Irishman requires surgery at the end of the season.