Moyes eager to compete with the best
Everton boss David Moyes is coming to terms with the new perception of his team that they are capable of stepping up to a higher level.
The impressive 1-1 draw away to Arsenal last weekend made many sit up and take notice of the progress the Merseysiders have made this term, beaten only once all campaign and already looking a strong bet for a European spot.
Moyes makes no excuses for the way he sends his team out to play, with some of Everton's tactics - certainly at Arsenal - and previously this season, questioned, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger critical of time wasting.
But Moyes make no concessions, saying: 'It was a good result but we were disappointed even to draw. But when you see Arsenal playing, against Reading and in Europe in midweek, you know what a good side they are.
'And Chelsea and Manchester United going to the Emirates will be more than happy to come away with a point, they are such a good passing team.
'We know, though, we have miles to go yet to be able to compete with such teams on an even playing field, but we did everything we could to get a good result and make it as tight a contest as we could.'
He added: 'I would have hoped that people looking at the game would have seen a pretty good Everton side before we went to Arsenal and produced such a good result.
'We've played really well this season, people should have noticed by now. We think we have dropped points in games we should have done better in, so we could have been in an even better position.'
Everton will be back in London tomorrow facing Fulham at Craven Cottage with Moyes intent on seeing his side maintain their current lofty position.
He said: 'It was a really good point at Arsenal, and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United will do well to match that.
'We made it difficult for them to score and did a good job on them, we were more than happy.
'I am not too interested in what Arsenal said about us, I am only interested in how Everton play and what we do.'
There is even a suggestion that comments from Thierry Henry ridiculing `boring' football, could have been aimed at Everton.
But Moyes brushes that aside, and says: 'Thierry Henry is a gentleman and he knows how he wants his football played, but he will understand that he has probably been in sides that are less than the best at some point in his career, and may well have had to be party to doing something himself like the way we played.'
Moyes has fullback Nuno Valente returning to the squad after a groin injury, but still has a virus in the camp that has laid a few players low these past fortnight.
But Everton can even reach the top three this weekend if results go their way, and Moyes says: 'We have already had one or two occasions this season when we could have gone third or better, but the only time that matters is come May.
'What we want is to keep this good run going, there's lots of confidence and a great self belief in what we are doing and getting results like we did at Arsenal can only enhance those feelings.
'But Fulham, too, is a tough place to go. We do not have that good a record there and they are particularly difficult at home where Chris Coleman has done a very good job on them.
'We now have a side with a potential and a direction to go higher. We have new backers now here at Everton so for everyone at this club there's much better things ahead.'
He added: 'Part of me always wants hard working sides, but we are trying to develop a really good footballing side and we are going in the right direction.
'We have a very tightly knit squad, they are young and can only progress from here.
'The best part about our group is how they get on together and the spirit amongst them. For me as a manager that is hugely important, they are as much a team off the pitch as they are on it.
'It is always something I try to do, but it has to come from the players in the dressing room where we have some very good professionals and some excellent senior pros as well.
'We are pleased with the way they are playing, we need some of our injured players back fit, but when we have that we will have the ability and character to repeat the success we achieved a couple of seasons ago.
'We are in a good run, we have managed some excellent results in London at Spurs and Arsenal, and now we want to continue that at Fulham.'