But last week the Everton FC boss actively encouraged his charges to take their seats for a special showing of a film which ensured their mood was dramatically altered. It wasn’t anything x-rated however, but rather a specially prepared series of clips showing the best of the team’s free-flowing, finesse-filled football so far this season. The Toffees boss had prepared the montage of footage to help lift sagging morale in the camp after the previous weekend’s disastrous FA Cup quarter-final exit against Wigan. T
hat was a game during which nothing went right, and just under three and a half nightmarish minutes had a devastating effect. The criticism of his team in the aftermath was varied and stinging, so Moyes wanted to remind his players that they are a lot better than that terrible afternoon suggested. Everton’s manager had been insistent when questioned before the Manchester City game that his team’s stylish football at times this season should not be overlooked, and his canny psychological ploy reaped dividends.
“Week in, week out you have actually watched pretty good football; we have been at the top end of the league, we have beaten Manchester United and Tottenham at home,” said Moyes. “We have been to Manchester City and drawn, we have drawn with Liverpool at home. You are not seeing a bad brand of football at Everton.”
The Blues players proved it had worked by playing with the sort of convincing self-belief that was enough to help them overcome the reigning Premier League champions. And afterwards they spoke glowingly of the video session with a manager who had bridled at some of the more extreme criticism which they had been subjected to beforehand. Victor Anichebe certainly took the presentation to heart, and turned in arguably one of his best ever performances in a royal blue shirt.
The powerful striker admits he was inspired. “The manager showed us a great video of how we had been playing all season so we couldn’t be too down,” said the 24-year-old. “That helped us – we actually saw how well we had been playing.
“It was a good all-round team performance, so I’m happy.” The video’s rousing effects were felt throughout the squad, and Nikica Jelavic undoubtedly found solace in the clips which showed his goals before December, when he had last scored in the league. However, Anichebe also believes the Croatian finally got the luck his efforts deserved when he scored towards the end of the game.
“The one (goal) from Ossie was great but the one from Jela, for me that was even better,” he said. “We need Jela to get back scoring and he got a bit of luck, which he needed.”