Moyes admits injuries forcing him to tinker
Everton manager David Moyes admits he is having to become more creative to find ways to keep his side winning going into the second half of the season.
Injuries to key players – with midfielder Darron Gibson ruled out for a month with a thigh strain and forward Kevin Mirallas sidelined for a second time with a hamstring injury – have taken their toll over the festive period.
In Sunday’s home defeat to Chelsea Moyes was forced to pick 18-year-old reserve team defender Tyias Browning among his substitutes so limited were his options.
Things have improved slightly with the return from suspension of Marouane Fellaini and the possibility of Phil Neville being fit again after being rested having complained of pain in the knee he had an operation on recently.
But Moyes’s management skills are being tested to the full once again and he accepts he may sometimes have to tinker with his tactics. “The mood is fine, we are healthy enough – I’d like a few more players back from injury but so would a few clubs,” he said.
“It is a busy time and I wouldn’t say it is a time of year when managers and players want game after game.
“We’ve had them [Gibson and Mirallas] out before. Kevin and Darron are important players for us but that is what happens.
“It is a test to try to find teams that can win without your best players. You have to find solutions.”
Defender Séamus Coleman has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with the club. It means the 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international has extended his stay at Goodison Park until the summer of 2018.
“I’m glad to get it all done and to sign for so long at a club like Everton is a great achievement – I want to be here for as long as possible,” he said.
“Signing a contract here is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years.” Coleman is suffering from a hamstring problem that has kept him out of the last three games.
Newcastle are hopeful of pushing through their protracted move for the 27-year-old Lille full back Mathieu Debuchy later this week after tracking the France international for more than a year.
Central defender Mike Williamson is back after serving a one-match ban at the Emirates, but right back Danny Simpson is out for up to four games after breaking a toe in that game.