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Everton manager Moyes filled with emotion

SoccerNews in English Premier League 29 Aug 2008


David Moyes could be forgiven for feeling he has endured a whole season's worth of emotions during the opening two weeks of Everton's campaign.

Just seven days ago, the prospect of Portsmouth visiting Goodison Park would have filled the manager with concern after a fruitless summer in the transfer market and a nightmare roll-call of injuries.

A crushing opening day home defeat to unfancied Blackburn and a continuing failure to attract new faces had prompted murmurings that last season's fifth-placed finish could be followed by a battle to stay out of dangerous lower reaches of the Premier League table.

But victory at West Bromwich Albion last week followed by – finally – success in strengthening his squad has suddenly triggered a more optimistic outlook.

First to arrive was Lars Jacobsen, the Danish right-back signed from Nuremburg, with Ecuador midfielder Segundo Castillo quick to follow from Red Star Belgrade and both players are expected to play some part against Harry Redknapp's side.

With a move for Rennes' Cameroon midfielder Stephane Mbia also mid-negotiation and a loan deal for Inter Milan's Nigerian winger Victor Obinna close to completion, Moyes' aim to sign six new faces in the final week of the transfer window looks nowhere near as fanciful as it did in the wake of the 2-1 win at the Hawthorns.

With so many new players in the offing, the manager can justifiably claim Everton's season starts now and it will be a test of the Moyes' abilities to mould a side quickly to ensure Everton can once again challenge for a top six spot.

Victor Anichebe's from Olympics duty with Nigeria where he collected a silver medal together with the improving fitness of James Vaughan should give Everton more options upfront where Ayegbeni Yakubu has been carrying the fight largely alone.

It would be unsurprising if Moyes' side wore a disjointed look against Portsmouth.

But if they are struggling to knit together, they can at least draw comfort from the fact their third league game of the campaign pitches them against opponents who are so far without a goal or point to their name.

Admittedly Pompey's opening two league games have been against Chelsea and Manchester United, hardly the ideal opponents to overcome early teething problems.

But the negative reaction to a disappointing start prompted a frustrated outburst from Redknapp.

“How many teams will beat Manchester United and Chelsea this year?” said the manager. “I don't think they'll lose more than three games each. Without being a silly optimist, how many points would you expect us to get from these opening three games?

“We took one point from them last season. And that point was against Manchester United when we got absolutely battered in the second half. We played better against them this season and lost 1-0.

“It would be nice to get a point or three points up at Everton. But if you've got any brains, how many points did people expect us to get from our first three games. Nine? I don't think so, unless you're an idiot.”

Portsmouth's cause hasn't been helped by the absence of Croatia international Niko Krancjar for up to three months after surgery on an ankle problem.

But with ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch returning to face his former Merseyside rivals alongside Jermain Defoe as part of Pompey's new-look strike-force, Redknapp will be confident his side can finally open their account.


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