Everton Vs Sunderland, Sat 26 Feb 2011

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Everton manager David Moyes is eager to build on last weekend's potentially season-changing victory over Chelsea.

The Toffees stunned the Barclays Premier League champions with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Stamford Bridge.

The result has breathed new life into a stale campaign spent largely in the bottom half of the table.

But previous uplifting victories over Manchester City in December and Tottenham in January proved false dawns and Moyes is anxious to ensure his team do not let standards drop for the visit of Sunderland.

Moyes said: "There was a great feeling in the dressing room and a great feeling on the train coming back after the game.

"We knew it was a big achievement to win at Chelsea.

"But we are not daft enough to think we didn't carry a bit of good fortune at the right time.

"Anybody who wins on penalty kicks knows it is unfortunate for the other side. It is a lottery but thankfully it went our way.

"I thought the players deserved it, they were brave enough in the game.

"There has been in a good feeling in the place and we will hope to make that stick and continue.

"At the end of the day I've always said the Premier League is more important than the cup.

"I also think that game has gone - we can't do anything about the Chelsea game now.

"We can only do something against Sunderland now. Since Monday we have had our heads on getting ready for Sunderland and we have worked hard."

Everton have lacked consistency this term and their last Premier League outing ended in a dismal 2-0 defeat at Bolton which Moyes described as one of the worst in his nine years in charge.

The Merseysiders are still just three points above the relegation zone but Moyes was impressed by the display at Chelsea and is backing the players to turn the situation around.

He added: "I always think it is the players who are responsible for going over the line.

"I take responsibility for the bad performances but I want them to take responsibility for the good ones because they are the ones who do it.

"Anybody who was at Chelsea - and there were a lot of Everton supporters there - will have seen the players were really at it.

"The players knew Bolton wasn't the level we play or the level we excepted.

"The good thing was they recognised that and did something about it."


Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has challenged his players to put their bodies on the line to halt their run of defeats.

The seventh-placed Black Cats head for Everton having lost each of their last three games and in danger of being reeled in by the chasing pack.

A lengthy injury list and a series of fixtures which handed the club difficult home clashes with Champions League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham either side of a tough trip to Stoke are mitigating factors.

And with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City waiting in the wings, Bruce knows that things could get even tougher in the weeks ahead.

However, he insists a new-found fragility at set-pieces rather than Darren Bent's departure for Aston Villa last month - Sunderland have taken only three points from a possible 12 since the striker's #24million exit - is to blame for their recent slide.

As a former central defender himself, Bruce believes the solution is obvious, even if it means a few painful afternoons for his players.

He said: "I don't think it has got anything to do with Darren going. We scored twice against Chelsea, we scored two at Stoke, we scored against Tottenham, we scored two at Blackpool.

"Darren Bent was never going to defend set-pieces for us, never. We have conceded seven goals in our last eight games from set-pieces.

"In the 21 games previous to that, we had conceded six, so you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what we have tried to work on all this week.

"But it is very difficult to replicate it. If you try to put a ball in and go and defend set-pieces, people get hurt - if you do it properly.

"Unfortunately, we haven't had too many hurt just lately, so that tells me one or two things."

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