Moyes lauds Fellaini

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Everton manager David Moyes says it would be wrong to suggest that Marouane Fellaini's, right, impressive Premier League performances are solely down to his power. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool, United Kingdom – Everton manager David Moyes says it would be wrong to suggest that Marouane Fellaini's impressive Premier League performances are solely down to his power.

The Belgium international, 24, has been outstanding this season and scored one goal and created the other in the 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday, taking his tally of goals for the season to six in the Premier League.

After seeing his Manchester United side beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park in the opening round of league fixtures, Alex Ferguson said Fellaini was “a big, tall, gangly lad who Everton just lumped the ball to”.

But as well as showing great technique to drive in from the edge of the area at Goodison Park, Fellaini laid on Nikica Jelavic's equaliser with a clever back-heel.

And Moyes thinks Fellaini has shown that there is much more to his game than brute force alone.

“It might look it, but I don't think he's got brutality,” said Moyes.

“He's got great chest control, soft feet, and when we needed him to drop back in with 15 minutes to go, he can play deeper as well.

“He's a really important player for us and he's proving that this season.

“I don't know if he got a bit lucky with it going through John O'Shea's legs (for Everton's second goal), but Jelavic needed one put on a plate for him at the moment.

“He finished it well, but it was as close to being put on a plate as possible from Fellaini's flick.”

Moyes' satisfaction was dimmed by the fact Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas limped off in the first half with a hamstring injury.

Mirallas, 25, has settled into the Premier League quickly since signing from Olympiakos in the summer and although it is unknown how long he will be sidelined, the midfielder's absence will be a blow to Moyes.

He added: “Mirallas was a loss because he looked the most liable to score, trying to get shots, and one who looked like he could create an opportunity as well. It looks as if he's got a bit of a hamstring (injury).

“It was a miss and we were a bit stodgy after that and didn't flow like we had done. The players showed great character to come from a goal behind.”

Leon Osman produced an impressive performance against Sunderland as he prepares to join up with the England squad for the first time for Wednesday's friendly with Sweden.

But Moyes did not want to speculate about whether the midfielder, 31, will be given a start in Stockholm.

He said: “Roy Hodgson picks that team and it's hard enough picking this Everton team, let alone Roy's team.”

Sunderland have endured a miserable start to the campaign, but took the lead when Adam Johnson scored from close range.

But as they looked to cling on to their advantage to earn a second win in 18 matches, Fellaini pulled Everton level before Jelavic scored the winner.

Martin O'Neill's side have managed only one league win in 10

matches this season, although that run has included six draws, but he was pleased with Johnson's first goal for the club and believes Sunderland will get out of trouble.

“It was a good performance by (Johnson) and (Stephane) Sessegnon was outstanding for long periods, and I'm disappointed we didn't see it through for any points,” said O'Neill.

“To think that we had 14 minutes left and looked as if we could get three points and didn't get any - but we'll come back.

“We're playing away from home against a side that has a great chance of being in the Champions League next season and we were exhilarating in the first half. It was a great performance.” – Sapa-AFP


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