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Nov, 10, 2012

Moyes wants European football

David Moyes is determined to bring European football back to Goodison Park – because he misses it.

The Everton manager watched his former club Celtic cause a Champions League upset by beating Barcelona 2-1 on Wednesday night.

And Moyes, whose last venture into continental competition saw Everton reach the last 32 of the Europa League three seasons ago, has admitted that his appetite has been whetted.

His team are fourth in the Premier League as they prepare to face Sunderland, and well placed to qualify for the Champions League, as they did in 2005.

Moyes is wary of getting too far ahead of himself, but has no doubts that he wants his team back competing in European competition.

"I remember when we had European football at Everton and I miss it. It was terrific," Moyes told the Liverpool Echo. "People say playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday is difficult, and it is. But I miss that. Everton miss that.

"Our first target is always to be safe and then look whether there's any chance to be in top 10.

"Qualifying for European football would be great if we could get back to that. Only people who can understand what it's like to play at or be at Celtic on a night like that will know how good it was on Tuesday."

Moyes' side have played 10 league games so far and accrued 17 points, five fewer than at the same stage in 2004/05, when they finished fourth.

For that reason, the manager is cagey when asked if the current Everton side is the best of his 10-year reign at Goodison Park.

"I see a different type of team now to the one which qualified for the Champions League," Moyes added.

"That team in 2005 had the ability to grind it out and could win a big game when it needed to as well. They had a lot of experience.

"The team now is more liable to go and play better and probably create more chances. But the team I have now is a really good side and they are performing well."

Moyes is mindful of the fact that Everton have drawn five of their 10 league games this season, including all of the last four, with his side held 2-2 at Fulham last Saturday after conceding a late equaliser to Steve Sidwell.

And while he is pleased that his team are proving so difficult to beat this season, he feels that some of those draws should have been wins.

"Our start has been good," Moyes said. "But it could have been a bit better. We are probably a little bit disappointed that we aren't further up the league. We could easily be in a higher position.

"That might be down to a lack of experience at times and maybe just giving away silly goals at silly times like we did at Fulham which cost us all three points.

"I remember the year we got the Champions League we had 22 points after 10 games, so we are nowhere near that.

"We've not reached that target, but I'm hoping we can stay up near to the top. It might not always be that way all year.

"The players have been excellent and if they play like they did against Fulham in most weeks then I won't be complaining too much.

"We are trying to hang in there and I think the big thing is consistency. The team that finished fourth in 2004/05 ground out results and we won a lot of games 1-0 that year, but at the moment we have had a few 2-2s which we could have won 2-1, for example. We need to be a wee bit more ruthless. But what the players are doing just now is admirable."

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