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MAROUANE FELLAINI has been among the very best performers in the Premier League so far this season, says David Moyes.
The Belgian midfielder will be key to Everton’s hopes of three points once again as they travel to Reading’s Madejski stadium today on the back of last Saturday’s victory over Sunderland, and Moyes reckons his 2008 signing is among an elite band of talents in England.
He said: “Suarez is playing very well but Fellaini is certainly in that category. Van Persie is doing very well for United, too, and Mata is doing exceptionally for Chelsea.
“He's a difficult player to stop. We have to make sure that teams can't think of how to stop him. We had to drop him back a bit deeper last week to get a bit of joy, because we'd stopped finding a way to get through and from a deeper position he got us a goal and created the winner as well.
“We need to make sure we're utilising him well, but also that we don't fatigue him. He had an international game this week, and it's a lot on him. It's not so much the games, although that's strenuous, it's the travelling.”
While Moyes insists he came up against plenty of players as physically imposing as Fellaini during his own days as a defender for Celtic and Preston North End, he admits he encountered few with the same natural ability.
“There used to be hundreds like him in my day,” he said. “The difference is that Fellaini is not a centre forward so you're not always marking him, you're not always picking him up.
“When you got someone that size, you just knew you were in for a day when you might have to win some and lose some. In my day, there were more of that type, but not of the technical ability. Felli's biggest strength is not just his size and strength, it is that technical ability. His feet are very good and he's got great chest control.”
Moyes is satisfied that his current team has more potential game-changing players than ever.
He said: “In the past, Leighton Baines has done an awful lot for Everton and been so creative. Then, with Pienaar coming back, people see them as a combination. I've seen signs of Seamus Coleman developing, and Mirallas has come into the team.
“Jelavic has looked like he'll get you the goals if you give him chances.So we have three or four more players who can open games up than in the past.”
The Blues boss hopes his team’s various star performers mean they are a challenging problem for opponents to try and solve.
“It's a bit like when we used to play other teams, like Arsenal, and we'd say how do you stop Thierry Henry? Or Bergkamp? Or Ljungberg?,” he said. “Before you knew it, you were trying to stop quite a few.”
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