Everton boss David Moyes believes repeating last season's victory over Manchester United could kickstart his side's campaign.
The Merseysiders began the new Barclays Premier League term with high expectations but have collected just one point from their opening three games.
Moyes is convinced his side should be challenging at the top end of the table and is looking for a lift as United visit Goodison Park, where they were beaten 3-1 in February.
Moyes said: "It would give us all that belief that we can mix it with the top sides.
"We feel if we play well we can be a match for any side, and that includes Manchester United.
"We went into the season with high hopes, rightly so, we had played so well.
"At the end of last season we lost two out of 24 and we had a pretty good pre-season.
"I could come out and say we want to avoid relegation and let's see where we go from there.
"I probably come out with that statement every year but I didn't this year.
"I said we had a good team and probably our best squad.
"I stand by that but we have not shown it in results so far."
With Louis Saha out for three weeks with a calf injury, that places extra pressure on summer signing Jermaine Beckford.
The former Leeds striker is still to open his top-flight account but Moyes does not want to overburden the 26-year-old, even though he is almost certain to start against United.
Beckford, however, does have happy memories of playing Sir Alex Ferguson's side having scored the goal for Leeds which knocked them out of the FA Cup in January. Moyes said: "To come from League One and start scoring goals in the Premier League, it is a big ask - but I have got no doubts he will.
"He should be given the same time, the same opportunities (as others), but it can take a little bit of time to establish yourself."
One player Moyes will be without for the time being is highly-rated midfielder Jack Rodwell.
The 19-year-old has been ruled out for up to three months with an ankle injury sustained in the Villa defeat.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has admitted Manchester United's trips to Everton are always "a nightmare" even without taking into account the Wayne Rooney factor.
After six days of his best player being plastered over the front pages because of those damning allegations in his private life, it took Ferguson just 16 words to inform the world he would not be responsible for any further comment.
Words might have been exchanged behind closed doors but a feature of Ferguson's illustrious managerial career, which reaches its 700th Premier League game on Saturday, is an ability to protect his players from further suffering, whether self-inflicted or not.
The attitude has so often been rewarded in the past and, when his team run out at Goodison Park, Ferguson will hope Rooney responds in the appropriate manner.
"Let's put it to bed straightaway," said the United boss. "I am not discussing any of my players' personal lives.
"It is always a nightmare going there and it wouldn't matter whether it was Dixie Dean playing for us. It is a hard place to go to.
"The atmosphere is fantastic. But we have had to deal with it for many years and there is no problem with our record there."
Indeed, while, by his own admission, United were slaughtered in the corresponding fixture last year, Ferguson's team have lost just three times at Goodison in the entire Premier League era.
Their chances of success this time around have been increased by both Everton's poor form and the return of Ferguson's huge international contingent, including Rooney, 24 hours earlier than usual.
For that, United have the new international fixture calendar to thank, which, in the case of Tuesday matches, Ferguson is hugely appreciative.
"It is the best decision FIFA have made in my time here," he said.
"I don't know why it has not been done before.
"It gives club managers a great boost and is not a problem for the international managers because they still have 10 days with their players."
If he does play, Rooney is expected to be accompanied by Rio Ferdinand.
There was a stage when Ferguson did not expect to have the England skipper back until the end of the month.
However, Ferdinand's recovery from the knee injury he suffered in that freak World Cup training ground collision with Emile Heskey has been so swift and so successful, Ferguson opted not to let him play a reserve team game against Stockport.
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