DAVID Moyes has denied last weekend’s shattering defeat by Wigan will play any part in whether or not he signs a new contract at Everton.
The Scot celebrated 11 years in charge at Goodison Park on Thursday but it has been one of the more difficult weeks of his tenure following the 3-0 home loss to the Latics in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Moyes’ contract runs out at the end of the campaign and earlier this season he indicated the Toffees’ fortunes in the remaining games would play a big part in his decision.
With Everton out of the cup and facing a real battle to qualify for Europe, the speculation has grown that Moyes may opt for pastures new as criticism from the terraces has mounted.
But the 49-year-old said: "The reaction to the defeat won’t influence my contract decision, that will be influenced by where we finish and what the players and myself feel.
"The way I am hearing the players talk, they are ambitious as I am and probably a lot of futures hinge on where we finish and what we do for the rest of the season."
Everton’s fans vented their frustration at missing out on possibly two trips to Wembley, booing their side off at half-time and full-time.
The hostility was palpable but Moyes attributed it to expectations heightened by the impressive form his side have been in for much of this season.
He said: "I think the expectations have risen even higher. The team’s performances this season have been the best football we’ve played in my time.
"The quality of the players, the style they’ve played in, the way we’ve gone about our job has rightly so put Everton at a level where the expectancy was that Everton have got a chance of top four, Everton have got a chance of winning one of the cups.
"When that doesn’t happen then it’s a big shock, but it was a big shock to us as well, we didn’t expect it.
"Everton during the 80s had great teams and great hope but there wasn’t too much since then.
"Now, I think there is a bit of hope at Everton. This season we have provided the hope that we can maybe get back to those days, and so after a performance like that the fans are going to be disappointed.
"I do think the disappointment was so big that it has come out in lots of different ways."
The Blues boss was quick to dismiss the notion he has taken the club as far as he can.
"It is insulting to Everton to say the club has gone as far as they can go, because this is a club where we always have to find ways of moving forward," he insisted. "I don’t think the result last week was anything to do with tactics or motivation or anything else.
"If people are talking about a lack of ambition from me or the players then I’ll really love to know what their definition of ambition is, because all year I’ve tried to bang the drum to finish fourth and win a cup.
"I am driven to succeed and so are the players so I will need them to explain to me what they mean. If people are saying there is a lack of ambition in the team, we have got Kevin Mirallas, Jelavic, Fellaini.
"We have tried to play them often. We have tried to get goals and we attack. We have had more shots than any other team. I would need the word ambition explaining to me.
"Look, people are entitled to their opinions. We have had a bad day but if you have that opinion, I think you have got to balance it out with the six or seven months that have gone before where we have played really well."