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Feb 4, 2013

Moyes still believes in Heitinga

David Moyes has backed John Heitinga to rediscover his form after two shaky performances in Everton's defence.

• Blog: Benteke batters Everton

Heitinga was taken off during Saturday's 3-3 Premier League draw at home to Aston Villa after suffering a torrid afternoon, and later apologised for his display on Twitter.

The Netherlands international was culpable for all three Villa goals as he struggled to cope with the threat of striker Christian Benteke, and he later tweeted: "Played worst game ever in the shirt of Everton. Let team-mates and fans down but they never let me down. Will work hard to come back strong."

Heitinga's Villa nightmare came three days after a sloppy piece of control allowed Shane Long to score for West Brom in a match Everton won 2-1.

He started against Villa after Everton manager Moyes decided to rest captain Phil Neville in order to avoid aggravating a knee problem, and Moyes is confident that Heitinga will bounce back after a tough few days.

The Everton manager told the Liverpool Echo: "This is someone with 50 or 60 Dutch caps. He's a really experienced defender, a really experienced player. He knows what he needs to do. He is at it, totally."

Moyes defended his decision to line up with the same back four that played against West Brom, with Heitinga filling in at centre-half and Phil Jagielka at right-back, explaining that injuries to Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman had forced his hand.

"It was the same way we set up against West Brom - it's what we have available because our right backs our injured," Moyes said. "We have limited alternatives.

"Phil Neville's not able to play three games in a week because of his knee. I knew when he played on Wednesday we'd struggle to get another game from him here, and I was concerned with Gabriel Agbonlahor's pace."

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