David Moyes, mopping up the disappointment of a Uefa Cup exit, suggested yesterday that his long-awaited new contract with Everton might be imminent.
"I will sign a contract with Everton very shortly, maybe before the weekend. Things are with the lawyers," he said. Which was certainly an improvement on his comments last weekend, when he said the club still had it.
But Moyes suggested that out of the ashes of defeat to Standard Liège, he might now rebuild the side by going out to find some of the lower-budget players he has made stars out of. "We have had a down but what I need to do is find more to add to it," he said. "It might not be at the top end. I might need to go back down the route where I got the likes of Tim Cahill in. I'm looking to rebuild again a side that can win games in Europe again like they did last year. That's what I have to do."
The policy of finding players in the lower leagues – Cahill had just played in Millwall's 2004 FA Cup Final side when Everton signed him for £1.5m – has brought huge success to Goodison. Joleon Lescott (Wolves), Phil Jagielka (from relegated Sheffield United) are in the same mould. Moyes' reluctance to embark on such a policy this summer was based on his belief that bigger-name players could improve the club.
Moyes accepted it could be "a struggle of a year", but he was drawing what hope he could. "By the time I got back to the hotel [last night], I knew I had to get on with it," he said. "That's what happens in football. Who knows?" Defeat at home to Newcastle tomorrow would put Everton into something of a crisis, but a win would send them to a similar points total to last season's, at the same stage.