Everton boss David Moyes has hailed his current crop of players as the "best" available to him during his 11-year tenure at the club.
The Toffees bounced back from their poor performance against Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-final by beating Manchester City at Goodison Park to all but end the champions’ tilt at the title.
The win prompted scenes of elation from Moyes as he charged onto the pitch at the final whistle and, talking after the game, he admitted his reaction was borne out of a combination of frustration and relief.
"I keep hearing questions about the game last week - and yes we were rubbish -but I tell you what, we’ve been very good all season,” he told the Liverpool Echo. "And sometimes you should be careful because, you know; you’re actually watching a really good Everton side.
"It’s the best Everton team I’ve had. I’ve been here 11 years and it’s the best team I’ve got. The football has been excellent, we’ve got international players just about in every position. I think we’ve created as many chances as most teams in the Premier League so there’s an awful lot of good things about Everton."
Moyes was criticised for Everton’s display against Wigan, with some questioning whether the Toffees’ bright start to the season had tailed off following a string of below-par results and speculation over the manager’s expiring contact.
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But the Scot does not believe talk over his future had an effect on the squad against Wigan or City.
"If you’re in football management you get criticised," he continued. "I just get a feeling that everything came to a head last weekend. For some reason they thought that it was my position which was the reason for the result.
"I know what we have to work with and I know the boundaries of where we can go. I know the restraints that we’ve got at the football club. I’m the one who actually knows that and maybe the football supporters don’t know all these things.
"The players who are playing at the moment have been great for Everton all season. They have been terrific. Maybe since the turn of the year they could have been a bit better, but sometimes you have to win big games and I thought we won a big game [on Saturday]."