Neville: Everton start helped by stable summer

The Toffees captain believes that uncertainty over the future of certain squad members has caused the Merseyside outfit to begin the campaign in poor form in the past

Everton midfielder Phil Neville insists that his side's encouraging start to the 2012-13 Premier League season is a result of having kept their squad largely in tact.

The Toffees kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over title contenders Manchester United on Monday, a result which the club captain hopes can provide a good foundation.

The former Manchester United man also spoke of the uncertainty hanging over the squad in previous seasons - something which he insists has not been present this time around.

12/1 Everton are 12/1 to finish in the top four with Bet365

"People always ask me why we start the season poorly and only once in my time here have we started well and that was when we signed Joleon Lescott, Tim Howard and Andrew Johnson early in the summer," the 35-year-old told reporters.

"We have looked into many things but I think it is the recruitment which has been most important. When it is done early there is not the uncertainty of who we are bringing in or who is leaving.

"Last season the panic and nervousness of the fans spread to the team and I have to admit the team were probably anxious as well.

"We wanted to be challenging for European places and we knew with the squad we had in the first few months it was not deep enough to do that.

"We all maybe felt a bit sorry for ourselves or a little bit disappointed but then at Christmas when Nikica Jelavic, Landon Donovan and [Darron] Gibson game in it was a totally different feeling around the place.

"All of the sudden there was a challenge of competing for your place again and we were probably the form team of the last six months.

"That calmness has gone into us all because we have recruited early and with eight days to go in the transfer window there is no panic if we don't bring anyone in."