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'This game is not about me, it is about Everton and United'

There will be something ironic about David Moyes walking back into Goodison Park tomorrow and feeling more than a little blue.

David Moyes will tomorrow make his return to Goodison Park. Picture: EPA
David Moyes will tomorrow make his return to Goodison Park. Picture: EPA

He had spent so long in the place during an 11-year stint as the manager of Everton that he almost became part of the furniture. He will return in the guise of a visitor, one who must now be careful not to overstay his welcome.

He had been lured away by the red of Manchester United; the Scot's anointment as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson coming before last season had ended. He had served out his contract and walked away after making a final tour of the pitch, during which he lapped up the appreciation of the home supporters. If he thinks they are waving at him tomorrow then Moyes might want to take a closer look.

The United manager may contend that he goes back to Goodison much like an elder sibling who has come home from uni for a weekend, to find that his room has been given away to his wee brother. Moyes' popularity has faded in light of the work done by his successor, Roberto Martinez. It became the axiom of Moyes' reign that the club could go no further without significant investment, yet Everton have found the latch on that glass ceiling and are now within a point of a Champions League place.

Indeed supporters are having such a good time watching their team this season it as though Goodison has become an empty.

"Roberto Martinez has done a brilliant job this year," acknowledged Moyes, who will be able to recall former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini. "This game is not about me, it's about Everton and Manchester United. I go there as manager of United and I'm delighted to be that. I was proud to be manager of Everton at that time but my job now is to make sure I get a result for United.

"I know the players at Everton - they are a great group of lads and great professionals, who are self-motivated. Over the years, we added players there and it was a great group of young players. The senior group there is very important, too. It's a tough game going to Goodison, as I should know."

He is aware, too, that Everton will likely finish ahead of United in the Barclays Premier League table, with a place in European competition also within reach for Martinez's team. They are not the only ones grasping for success in the final fixtures of the campaign - with Chelsea intent on clawing back a two-point advantage held by leaders Liverpool.

The Anfield side have won their last eight matches - as well as the hearts and minds of many tracking their progress - but the title race can be expected to involve a few more twists and turns before it is decided.

"I personally don't subscribe to the view that this league title will be decided by one match," said Steve Holland, the Chelsea assistant coach whose side host bottom side Sunderland this evening. "There are enough difficult games left to suggest there may be other curve balls thrown in."

The league title could yet arrive at Stamford Bridge, all in blue.

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