x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Moyes very eager to maintain momentum

Everton's players may be a little road weary following their Thursday night victory in Belarus but the manager, David Moyes, says his players will be at their hard-working best when they take on Stoke at home.

Everton's players may be a little road weary following their Thursday night victory in Belarus but the manager, David Moyes, says his players will be at their hard-working best when they take on Stoke at home today. The Toffees came from behind to beat BATE Borisov 2-1 in the Europa League with an under-strength side and Moyes is taking that gritty performance to mean Everton are still riding the crest of the wave.

Moyes's team do have a good record against Stoke, having gone on an unblemished nine-match winning streak. It looks as if Joseph Yobo will join Victor Anichebe, Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar and Philip Nevill on the injury list, but the manager is in a bullish mood, perhaps helped by the return of defenders John Heitinga and Lucas Neill and striker Louis Saha, who were ineligible against Borisov.

"I am always looking for high standards. I thought we could have played even better against Borisov and I am still looking for improvement," said Moyes. "We showed tremendous courage to win the game. The players know it is what I expect of them when they come here and I think they thrive on the responsibility of it." Moyes admitted his players will not have had the ideal preparation for as he fielded his strongest possible team for the Belarus match.

"We would have liked more preparation time because when you play a very competitive side like Stoke you have to be ready, but I tell the players that we have to go and do it again." Stoke are looking for goals having managed only five so far this season. @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae