NIGEL MARTYN: Stalemate at Wolves is no setback as Everton's Euro bid still on track

By Administrator on Mar 30, 10 07:52 AM in Columnists

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IT like felt two points dropped at Wolves on Saturday but a draw certainly wasn't a disaster for Everton.

We're now unbeaten in five games and we're a point closer to Aston Villa after the thrashing they suffered at Chelsea.

The Blues certainly had their chances at Molineux and a win would have made the race for Europe even more interesting.

However, Wolves are an improving side and with them fighting for survival it was always going to be difficult there.

I remember getting turned over there in my career and a draw at least ensured our momentum is maintained.

If someone had offered us four points from the two games away to Man City and Wolves we would have taken it.

We've got six games to go and there's everything to play for.

If Tottenham or Chelsea win the FA Cup then seventh place will be good enough to qualify for the Europa League. And that's a very realistic target for us now that we're only two points behind Villa.

Martin O'Neill's men are faltering and they also have an FA Cup semi-final to prepare for.

It will be interesting to see how that hammering at Chelsea dents their confidence.

They have got Bolton away this Saturday and that's not easy by any means.

The Blues' trip to Villa on April 14 is going to be massive and by the time we go there we could even be ahead of them. However, knowing the manager as I do I know he won't allow anyone to look that far ahead.

The focus will be solely on the game against West Ham at Goodison this Sunday.

The Hammers are struggling and manager Gianfranco Zola is under a lot of pressure.

He's had some criticism for giving his players three days off but he obviously believes a short break will do them good ahead of this weekend.

Zola was a wonderfully talented footballer and he's a very likeable guy - someone players respect and are keen to work for.

I just think he's the right person at the wrong club.

West Ham were in turmoil before he got there and he's had to deal with all that in his first managerial job.

It's a difficult place to cut your teeth. Things said have been said and written by the new owners which haven't been helpful for either Zola or the players.

I hope he turns West Ham around but only after this weekend.

Our home form has been excellent with seven straight wins coming at the perfect time. We have to show no mercy and pile more misery on the Hammers.

Sylvain Distin has been key to Everton's defensive strength

WHAT will really please David Moyes about our recent run is that we've now kept three successive clean sheets.

Earlier in the season we had some problems and were leaking soft goals, but we've got back to the kind of defensive strength our success in recent years has been built on.

Tim Howard will be delighted with that and his back four are protecting him well.

Obviously the return to fitness of Phil Jagielka has been crucial but I've also been really impressed with Sylvain Distin.

He has proved to be a great buy and has fitted in well during his first season.

That's meant Joseph Yobo has found his opportunities limited.

That's happened to him a number of times over the years and I remember when I was there he had to play second fiddle to David Weir and Alan Stubbs.

Yobo has to stay focused and be ready to take his chance when it comes along.

I'm sure he will have a part to play between now and the end of the season.

Doing the double over Man City was so sweet

EVERTON have had some great results this season but the 2-0 win at Man City is up there with the best of them.

With everything that went on over Joleon Lescott's move, the manager had the players fired up for the game and it showed. It was a tremendous performance and to become the first side to win there all season is no mean feat.

To do the double over City this season will be so sweet for David Moyes.

A lot was made about the touchline bust-up between the two managers at Eastlands. I didn't have a problem with what went on and it just showed their passion.

Moyes caught the ball and wanted to slow the game down, while Roberto Mancini reacted like he did because he was desperate to get the ball back in play. It soon calmed down, although if it had gone further I'd have fancied Moyes with his Glasgow roots to come out on top!

The FA charging Mancini with improper conduct is harsh. These are high pressure situations and a couple of warnings would have sufficed.

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