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Feb 25, 2013

Moyes: Fellaini can learn from Messi calm

David Moyes has urged Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini to learn a few lessons from Lionel Messi when it comes to dealing with physical opponents.

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Moyes believes that the Barcelona forward, who has scored 49 goals this season, sets a great example with his even temperament.

The Everton manager voiced his frustration after Saturday's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Norwich about a perceived lack of protection given to Fellaini by match officials.

The Belgium international, 25, suffered a cut leg after being kicked by Bradley Johnson - then struck back at the Canaries midfielder seconds later after referee Lee Mason took no action.

Fellaini was not booked at Carrow Road, but his frustration at receiving rough treatment did get him into trouble during a 1-1 draw at Stoke on December 15, when he headbutted Ryan Shawcross and was handed a three-match ban after the FA studied video evidence.

And the midfielder, Everton's top scorer this season with 11 goals, said last week that his height and unmistakable afro hairstyle made him an easy target for referees.

And Moyes said: "You trust officials, and you expect them to go about their job the same for everybody. But if you look at Fellaini, he has to take as many challenges as anybody. He'll give as many out, but I don't think he gets protected as well as what it is when he's challenging somebody.

"It is frustrating. But he's good at dealing with it. I keep saying to him: Look at Lionel Messi. He gets kicked every week. Everyone wants to kick him because it's the only way to stop him. But all he ever does is smile, get up and get on with it.

"So I've told him he has to copy that. I don't think he'll ever be as good as that, but certainly he should try to be similar in temperament to Lionel Messi. He just accepts it and gets on with it. He accepts that people are going to try to stop him some way and moves on."

Moyes is expecting more physical challenges for Fellaini on Tuesday, when Everton host Oldham in an FA Cup fifth-round replay.

The League One side's run to round five has been inspired by the aerial threat of 6ft 6in striker Matt Smith, who scored in his side's 3-2 win over Liverpool in round four, before heading the late equaliser against Everton that forced a replay.

But Moyes, a combative centre-half who spent the majority of his playing career in England's lower divisions, expects his men to be able to cope with a big bustling centre-forward.

He said: ""Well in my day, when I played, you used to have one of them every week. That was my job - to match him, challenge him, make sure I won as many challenges as he did.

"I think football and certainly the Premier League changed. I don't think there are as many of that type of player. I don't think there are as many teams that play using a big man in the way Oldham do.

"So it's part of football. There's no right or wrong way to play football. The job is to win, by whichever way you choose to do it. And as long as it's within the rules, that's OK."

Striker Victor Anichebe remains doubtful with the knock that forced him to miss the defeat at Norwich, while eight-back Tony Hibbert is recovering from calf surgery.

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