Monday 02 April 2012

Howard: Miserly defence key to Everton form

Toffees keeper says defensive performances have been crucial in impressive run

Goalkeeper Tim Howard says Everton's defence has been superb so far this year

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard says the club's recent good form can be credited to his side’s mean defensive displays.

The Toffees have won five of their last nine Barclays Premier League matches - a run which has included victories over Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City - without a goal being conceded in any of those wins.

Everton are now seventh in the League table after Saturday's 2-0 home victory over West Bromwich Albion, a fixture in which Howard was only called upon to make one save.

"Since the turn of the year it's not about if we're going to concede, it's about how many chances we'll give up"
- Tim Howard

And Howard is full of praise for how the defensive line is performing in front of him.

"As a goalkeeper, when the guys in front of you are limiting chances like that, you know goals aren't going to be scored," Howard told the club's official website.

"They've done such a good job of putting the opponent in areas where it's difficult for them to get chances. Of course, when it happens that's when I have to try and earn my money.

"We felt like we've been pretty solid lately. We've had a good run since Christmas and we really felt like that started defensively, and we've been scoring goals as well.
 
"I don't know how the manager is choosing [the team] at the minute but he seems to be doing the right thing, and giving guys a rest when they need it and they haven't disappointed.
 
"I love our centre-halves - Jags [Phil Jagielka] was our skipper against West Brom and he was fantastic. Since the turn of the year it's not about if we're going to concede, it's about how many chances we'll give up."

More to come

Everton manager David Moyes, meanwhile, believes there is more to come from midfielder Darron Gibson, who has impressed at Goodison Park since moving to the club from Manchester United in January.

"He has settled in really well and the players all like him"
- David Moyes on Darron Gibson

Gibson, 24, has made seven League appearances since his arrival, scoring one goal, and has been on the winning side in all of them.

"I have always liked Darron Gibson and always thought there was something there," said Moyes.

"I have always liked his style. I thought there was something there against West Brom when he did well. There were some good signs.

"However I think it is going to take time and I need to get him out of his own comfort zone. I think there is more to come.

"Everything he does is a little bit safe at the moment and we will try to get him to be a bit braver in a lot of the things he does.

"It is still early days for him but he has settled in really well and the players all like him. I think that he has fitted into the work ethic."

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Key Points

  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard praises performances of Everton defence
  • Toffees have won five of their last nine Barclays Premier League matches
  • Everton boss David Moyes says there is more to come from Darron Gibson