Everton manager David Moyes was relieved to see his mentally tired players earn a 2-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
A Gareth McAuley own-goal and Victor Anichebe’s second-half strike sealed all three points for home side Everton in the English Premier League match at Goodison Park.
Moyes was not surprised to witness a somewhat laboured performance from his players, who he feels have been pushed to the limit by the demands placed on such a small squad.
“I thought there was parts of (the performance) which were very good and parts of it where it looked like there was a bit of mental tiredness and a bit of physical (tiredness), which I was really worried about today,” he said.
“We put near enough the same boys out again, made a couple of changes, and I thought in the main we did the job, albeit I saw signs of fatigue mentally more than physically really.
“We still needed the second goal and at 1-0 I was deciding ‘do I shore it up?’, because I was just thinking that maybe we didn’t have an awful lot left.
“When we got the second goal it made a big difference, it sort of put the game to bed for us.
“There were bits of play in the first half where maybe we could have gone on and scored but we weren’t making the final pass, with a bit of tiredness in the general play.
“So, a bit mixed but if you’d have (offered) me this result before the game I’d have said ‘great’, because West Brom have got one of the best records away from home in the Premier League, so I was really wary of that.”
While Everton are now up to seventh place, defeat on Merseyside leaves their visitors 14th on the table, just eight points clear of the relegation zone with seven matches left to play.
“I think we need about four more points and we’ve got seven games to get them,” West Brom manager Roy Hodgson said.
“When you lose it gives you a sinking feeling and I now have to get the players up for the next game against Blackburn.”