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David Moyes make his case for Everton FC defence
Published : 16 Jan 2010 07:00:00
DAVID MOYES is desperate to turn his upwardly mobile Everton side back into the mean defensive unit which saw them secure fifth place two seasons in a row. The Blues boss craves a return of the clean sheets which have been the foundations of their success, with 19 shut-outs last season. This time around Everton have struggled not to concede for a variety of reasons, but their recent six-game unbeaten run in the league has suggested they could be about to turn a corner. Although goals have still been going past Tim Howard, central defenders John Heitinga and Lucas Neill have quietly been building an understanding at the heart of defence. It was boding well, until Galatasaray threw a spanner in the works last Sunday by luring Neill to Turkey and leaving David Moyes with something of a dilemma. He said: 'It took us by surprise. On Sunday we got a call to say they wanted Lucas and I felt obliged to tell Lucas because he came in late to help me out and they were offering him a two year contract. 'I gave him the opportunity to speak to them if he wanted to do so and he's been able to secure a deal with them. 'It's really something that I wouldn't want but it was only right that the boy gets his chance to do that. 'Him and John Heitinga were just beginning to form a real partnership. 'We base ourselves over the years on keeping clean sheets and that's not happened, but I actually think there was solidity coming with the two of them and we had bedded it down. ' That happens though and we'll have to see what we can do.' Now Moyes must decide whether to ask Lucas Neill to play his last game for the Blues, with the ink still fresh on his signature with another club. It is a scenario similar to the one which faced former Blues' caretaker boss Dave Watson in 1997 when he asked Paul Rideout to play against in a crucial league game against Spurs. Rideout had just seized a lucrative opportunity to play for Huan Dao Vanguards of Xaopyangon, China, which amounted to a significant pre- retirement nest egg. But with a depleted and injury-riven squad, Watson called Rideout back from China before the transfer was completed, to support an ailing midfield.