Belfast Telegraph

Moyes looking for improvement

Everton manager David Moyes has warned his players they cannot afford to be complacent as they head into the second half of the season.

In recent years the pattern has been for the Toffees to have a slow start to campaigns with results picking up in the new year. This time has been no different as a testing run of fixtures in September and October left them at the wrong end of the table and although they have risen to 10th Moyes has stressed things have to improve in 2012.

"The first half of the seasons have always been tough for us but there is no guarantee that in the second half of this season we will do what we have done in the other ones - we have to prove that," said the Scot ahead of Sunday's trip to West Brom.

"I hope we are in the mindset of getting better because we need to kick on and start winning the games. But we will be asking to do that with basically the same players and if they haven't been winning them now they have to make sure they win them in the second half of the year.

"I think the players believe we come good and are strong in the second half of the season so because of that we have to try to show it. I am ready for it and looking forward to winning a few games and enjoying my Saturday nights more. We have to hope it happens again but there is no guarantee."

Everton's problem has been a lack of goals with just 18 in 17 matches and that has been compounded by leaking goals at inopportune moments - usually before they have had chance to score themselves. In four of their last five league matches the Toffees have conceded the first goal and Moyes admits that is making life more difficult for themselves.

"If you are not scoring many goals it means we are chasing," added Moyes, whose side have kept just three clean sheets this season.

"If we are not careful if we lose a goal there will be some games when teams will score two and it might become impossible for us to get back into the game.

"But I couldn't say we've been that bad defensively but we are still conceding slightly more than a goal a game. We have to stop that if we want to do better because our 'goals for' column is not allowing us to concede any.

"We are either going to have to start rattling them in at one end or keeping them out at the other if we are to stand any chance. 2011 has been a difficult year for Everton, it has not been one of our best, so it would be great if I could win the first game in January."

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