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Mar 11, 2013

Moyes: Contract saga not to blame

David Moyes insists that the uncertainty over his long-term Everton future had no bearing on their 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at home to Wigan.

• Has Moyes had his Boro moment?

Moyes' hopes of ending the club's 18-year wait for a trophy this season were dashed as his team conceded three goals in four first-half minutes at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees boss, who is out of contract at the end of the season, revealed last month that he would delay a decision on any new deal until the summer. He said at the time that he wanted to see how successful his side were in pursuing European qualification and FA Cup glory before making up his mind on his own future.

But Moyes, who will celebrate the 11th anniversary of his appointment as Everton manager on Thursday, is adamant that his contract situation is not distracting his players.

"What can be said is people will always draw comparisons," he told the Liverpool Echo. "But anybody who watched that game will know it had nothing to do with that. It was just a poor performance by myself and the Everton team. It wasn't anything to do with anything else.

"I actually got a feeling that the supporters realised it was just a bad day. We just didn't play well. It wasn't as if it was something tactically we did. Throughout you saw misplaced passes, bad control, not winning a race, a challenge or a header in the box. It was a performance I've not seen from my team for quite a while."

Everton host Manchester City on Saturday as they look to improve a run of form that has brought just two wins in seven Premier League games and seen them fall to seventh in the table.

Moyes admitted that he has been concerned about aspects of his team's performances over the last two months, and that he was not entirely satisfied with the 3-1 league victory over Reading nine days ago.

"I thought there were bits against Reading last week I wasn't so sure about. I've seen signs about things I wasn't sure about," he said. "Obviously I'm not going to publicise them and say what they are. And I'm not saying they're all of the things which came to fruition against Wigan. We didn't play well enough and they did. We gave away goals quickly so we nearly lost the game very quickly in a bad period."

But Moyes insists his team can recover from a shattering FA Cup defeat, as they did after losing to Liverpool at Wembley in the semi-final last year. Everton were unbeaten in their final five league games of last season after going out of the cup.

"What we've tended to do in these situations is bounce back quite well," Moyes said. "We lost a big game at Wembley last year and I would expect the same from the players and the same from me.

"I said before we're still fighting on two fronts: the FA Cup and the league, and that's why I would never say which one is more important than the other. Now the important thing is we try to win as many league games as we can."

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