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Apr 29, 2013

Moyes backs Jelavic to come good

David Moyes is hoping that a summer break will help Everton striker Nikica Jelavic rediscover his goalscoring touch for next season.

• O'Farrell: Pienaar puts on a show

Croatia international Jelavic scored 11 times in 16 games over the second half of last season after moving to Goodison Park from Rangers for £5.5 million.

But his form has dipped since then, with only eight Everton goals in his name this season, and just one in the league since Christmas.

The striker has been in and out of the starting line-up since the end of January, with Moyes giving Victor Anichebe more opportunities.

Jelavic started for the first time in four weeks as Everton beat Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday, but was substituted midway through the second half after another frustrating afternoon in front of goal.

Moyes told the Liverpool Echo: "We left him out for a few weeks. But we'll persevere and hope for the day when he gets his form and his goals back. The summer might freshen him up."

Saturday's win left Everton just three points off fifth spot - which would bring a place in next season's Europa League - but Moyes has admitted that his side have missed the 27-year-old's prolific touch.

He said: "I wouldn't say it's a priority in the summer, but to have someone who can get 15 to 20 goals maybe would have made our position even better than it is.

"I think with Jela, it's a bit of second-season syndrome, or a bit of a loss of confidence. So we need to give him the chances. We want to keep giving him opportunities to go and get his form back.

"The crowd are desperate for him to do well, you can tell. There are other players who would maybe get criticised but he doesn't because the crowd know how well he's done and what he is capable of.

"Everybody's willing him and saying: 'Come on then, let's get these goals and get under way again.' That's the way we've thought about it all year.

"He's been great. He's worked. He's the first one to accept he has to do better and I think when you've got people like that, it gives you a chance."

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