Everton manager David Moyes feels that one of his biggest achievements in his nine year tenure at the club has been changing the mentality of the dreary nineties, were a culture of survival was deemed good enough.
As Everton prepare today´s game against Fulham at home, Moyes could welcome back captain Phil Neville and Tim Cahill, two players he feels have been integral in changing the clubs mentality during his reign.
“We’re not alright yet that’s for sure,” he says. “I think for the group of players and their pride they have to show they are good players. You can’t just turn that on and off they have to show they can get as high up the league as they possibly can.
“They are both two of the players who have been the distance with me and know what’s expected and what’s required. They are great to have back, both really influential players.
"I don’t see any players going about here thinking this is done. I remember when I first took over here and I used to think Everton got themselves safe and that was it. That was my recollection of the early years.
“I think one year we got about 40 points by Easter and we had six or seven games left and never won one in the last period. We finished up getting beaten by Man City. That made me think at that time that just avoiding relegation was in the mentality, that was enough.
“It was one of the things I felt had to change, because avoiding relegation wasn´t good enough. If we had won four of those last half dozen games we could have finished in the top half of the league so we actually dropped from there down and ended up finishing 17th.
“It’s something which I hope we´ve eradicated from the club.”
Everton now have two forthcoming home game, against Fulham and Aston Villa, which Moyes believes will determine whether a glimmer of hope remains that they could finish in the top six.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
“I think the top six will be a really hard call for us but we’ve got two home games coming up,” he says.
“Those games will probably decide whether we can make that. If we won both it would be possible, if not it will be really difficult.”
Today’s game against Fulham mirrors Moyes’s first on Merseyside, a 2-0 victory over the same opponents. That was nine years ago this week, and the Blues boss admits the job has become more difficult because of the money now in the game but accepts he just has to find other ways of competing.
“It has got more difficult but that is not the be-all and end-all,” he said.
“My job is just to try to get a winning team on the Saturday and let other people worry about the money.
“Most managers have to work in the realms of a tight budget. I would like the money but everyone would.
“But I have had the chance to control the club, they have given me the opportunity to make decisions how I want to do things and many managers don’t get that.
“I hope after nine years people would think there has been an improvement because we have not been able to do it with the support of an American billionaire or a sheikh.”
But even though he is firmly entrenched at Everton Moyes admits he has had moments when still gets unsettled. “Most Saturday nights you lose you don’t know if you are ever going to get through to Sunday,” he joked.