Everton news

Neville: Spirit key to Everton resurgence

March 31, 2011
By Mark Lomas

Everton captain Phil Neville believes his team-mates' desire to prove their fighting spirit has been responsible for their ascent up the Premier League table.

Phil Neville
GettyImagesPhil Neville says Everton players were angry when their spirit was questioned

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The Toffees endured a nightmare start to the season and were bottom of the league in September having taken just three points from their first six games.

As recently as February, David Moyes' side were still languishing in 14th place, but a run of four wins in their past six games has seen them catapulted up to eighth and, in a tightly-bunched table, they are just nine points behind Spurs in the Europa League spot.

Neville admittted it was difficult not to be worried about the club's plight earlier in the campaign but insisted he never doubted the Toffees' ability to drag themselves up the table.

"We were always confident [of getting out of trouble] but the way the season was going it was difficult to avoid that nagging doubt that 'hang on a minute, this could be one of those crazy seasons'," Neville told ESPNsoccernet. "We weren't playing well, we didn't seem to be getting better and we couldn't score goals.

"But when people started to question the spirit - which is what this club is based on - it hurt a lot of people and we knew we needed to get ourselves out of trouble.

"We have bounced back and shown our true spirit, which - even if I'm not here or David Moyes isn't here - will always be the foundation of this football club."

Moyes' position has come into question regularly in the past couple of months, with many reports suggesting he is ready to walk away from the club he has managed since 2002 but, for Neville, that scenario would be unthinkable as the Toffees' captain believes the Scottish boss is what makes the club tick.

"He is the catalyst, the engine that drives everybody forward, and he is the one who gets the players motivated when they're down down," Neville said.

"When we lost against Bolton recently, there was only one man who could get us back up again and that was the gaffer. He has an unbelievable drive, work ethic and will to succeed - he is a fantastic manager who wants to bring success to Everton."