Moyes hopes for Arteta and morale boost

September 21, 2007

Everton boss David Moyes will be praying midfielder Mikel Arteta is fit for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Aston Villa.

The Spanish playmaker was a late withdrawal from last night's frustrating UEFA Cup first round, first leg draw with nine-man Metalist Kharkiv at Goodison Park.

Moyes said: 'He kicked the ground during training and his ankle is swollen. I was hoping he would make the European tie, now I just hope he is OK for Sunday.

'We certainly were missing players who could have made an impression on the UEFA Cup tie, it certainly made a difference.'

Moyes admitted he will need to lift confidence after the shattering 1-1 draw when the Ukrainians, despite having two men sent off, hung on after Andrew Johnson had missed two penalties.

Moyes said: 'To be honest I have not thought too much about Sunday yet, but I think we will all need some lifting.'

And Moyes refused to blame Johnson for the double penalty miss that leaves Everton's UEFA Cup dreams hanging by a thread.

Johnson - who has not scored for his club since March 16 and was perhaps filling in for Arteta as penalty-taker - was forced to retake one spot-kick because of encroachment by Leon Osman.

But after netting the first effort, Johnson saw goalkeeper Alexandr Goryainov save the second attempt.

And when Everton were awarded another penalty in the closing minutes, Johnson stepped up again and this time blasted the ball into the crowd.

Everton had led early on through a Joleon Lescott header, but in the mayhem of those final minutes they saw substitute Venans Zeze grab a lifeline for Kharkiv ahead of the second leg.

Moyes said: 'Andy was very brave to want to take the second penalty, I have no problems with that. If the player wants to take it, then take it.

'Andy wanted it, he so desperately wants to score a goal after so long without one. I admire him for that.

'If someone says `no thanks' that is understandable too, but Andy was keen to take the responsibility again and I admire him for it. It was a brave thing to do.'

But Moyes believes that the first penalty should not have been disallowed by Austrian referee Fritz Stuchlik.

He said: 'I have seen the replay and it was a bit harsh. There was as many of their players in the box as there was ours. And if he disallowed that one, he should have done the same to the next one because there was even more people in the box for that one.

'As for the second leg, we will have to go there and play a lot better. At the moment we are out because of their away goal, it is up to us to make sure we do much better out there.'