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Managers Press Conference – Everton

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Manchester United manager David Moyes sat down with the press this afternoon ahead of Sunday’s trip to Goodison Park, his first visit to his former club since becoming United manager last summer. Everton are in a better position than United are this season, which is one of the main reasons as to why Moyes has encountered opposition from a small section of the clubs supporters this season, but many are still behind the manager.

United need to win all four of their remaining matches if they want to better their league position this season. Moyes seems to think fourth place is still possible, with United 10 points behind fourth placed Arsenal, with a game in hand, so mathematically it is still possible, but realistically I really cannot see it happening. United have been boosted with the return to training of Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini, and Jonny Evans could make his return.

Here are the main points from the press conference:

Moyes on his first return to Goodison Park since leaving the club last summer:

“I know the players – they are a great group of lads and great professionals who got on with the job and were self-motivated. Over the years, we continued to add players there and it was a great group of young players.”

Moyes on the players Everton currently have and the roles Roberto Martinez and the fans have played this season:

“The senior group there is very important too. Roberto has done a brilliant job this year, he’s got them playing well and in a good, healthy league position. First of all, the game is not about me, it’s about Everton and Manchester United on the day. I go there as manager of Manchester United and I’m delighted to be that. I was proud to be manager of Everton at that time but my job now is to make sure I get a result for Manchester United.

“The fans were always terrific in my time there, very supportive and always right behind the team. We had some really big games there at times and they’ll be supporting the team like the Manchester United supporters have for their team. We go there with a great away record and go there trying to keep that going.”

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Moyes on the fitness of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Marouane Fellaini:

“Rooney trained great this week and has been in really good form. We’re hopefully getting him back as he wasn’t quite right with his toe at times. He’s trained great though.

“Robin [van Persie] is in Holland and making improvements, but we always thought it would be four to six weeks. We’ll have a better assessment in the next week or so as we’ll see how he is coming along. Our medical team is heading out there to see him this week and get a better feel as to exactly where he is.

“Fellaini didn’t play against Bayern but we expect him back fit because he has trained all week. Evans is making progress but Rafael is still unavailable.”

Moyes on the club not giving up on a fourth place finish this season:

“We’ve said we’ll never give in and we won’t until we just can’t do that. Obviously it’s nearly mathematically impossible but we’re still trying to make it happen if we can. It’s a tough game going to Goodison for any team at any time, as I should know, but we go there with a good away record and will try to make that work again.”

Because the match between Everton and United does not take place until Sunday afternoon, there will be some embargoed comments, which will probably be released in the newspapers on Saturday and Sunday. This usually happens with Sunday and even Monday matches, which allows the newspapers to print something fresh each day until the match.

By Paul Bienkowski

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