The Blues have proven their resilience by becoming the first side to go behind in six consecutive games and still avoid defeat. Now Moyes wants them to stretch that determined streak across the whole campaign, and in the process emulate the heroics of his fourth-placed 2005 team. He said:
“The question will be, do we have the staying power? Do we have the consistency?
“I think we should have more points than we have at the moment, we’ve lost points in the 90th minute to Fulham and Newcastle. But I’m sure many other clubs could say the same thing.
“We have shown an ability to grind results out, which does have shades of the team in 2005.
“I was disappointed Sunderland were allowed some chances (on Saturday) because our play hadn’t warranted Sunderland having them. We were a bit open and a bit wasteful, and that always gives the opposition a chance.
“I can’t quite put my finger on why we keep conceding first. Our play has often merited us going ahead, and if I’d have known what to do I’d have done it. We are in a good position, but there are going to be lots of games where we will have to grind out results. It’s so tight.
“But I’m pleased with how we have done. It’s not the same amount of points that we got in the Champions League season at this stage, but I am pleased.”
Moyes is buoyed by the confidence his side have displayed by refusing to be cowed when they have suffered set-backs during so far this season – typified during the 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
“When it got to 70 minutes it looked like it wouldn’t be our day,” he said.
“We were looking to see how to alter it. I didn’t think we were playing that badly but we conceded before half-time and were left chasing the game.
“There’s a great deal of belief and confidence. If we’d have lost we would have been disappointed but there was plenty in the game which would have warranted the belief that we didn’t deserve to lose.
“We are an improving team. Sunderland will be disappointed not get something from the game. But we kept going and we have players now who individually can make something happen. A lot of the time it has been Leighton Baines who has down something special, but now we have Kevin Mirallas and Jelavic, and Fellaini is now making himself amore important player.”
The only concern for the Everton manager remains the size of his squad, which lacks options compared to others bidding for a Champions League spot. He said:
“I wouldn’t say our squad is big enough, but I would say we have got good quality. I have 15-16 players that I can call on.
“The staying power I’m talking about is different. People will drop out of form a little bit, and do you have other players to bring in or do you have to have players playing through it?
“Maybe we don’t have the luxury to take our best players out of the team. We have to hope they stay in form, stay fit and avoid injuries. You want players to come in and make a difference. And we brought in young Vellios against Sunderland and while he didn’t score we managed to get the two goals when he was on the pitch.”
After hosting Arsenal at the end of November Everton face Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea next month, and Moyes would like to see his ambitious side improve their record against the top clubs, while acknowledging they have more in common than ever with them.
“We have always given the top four teams tough games,” he said.
“Maybe you could say our record against them isn’t that good, but at least we give them a game.
“Now maybe teams will come to Goodison and make it tough for us. Sunderland did that on Saturday.
“Newcastle, for example, will find their home games difficult because there will be an increase in expectation.”