Neville - Better service needed

Everton skipper looking for increased goal output

Phil Neville: Everton skipper confident in quality of squad despite lack of goals

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Everton captain Phil Neville wants his team to provide improved service to the forwards to help ease their troubles in front of goal.

The Toffees have scored just 15 times in 14 Premier League matches, with just seven of those strikes coming at home.

Recurring injuries to Louis Saha have blunted Everton's attacking options with their leading scorer this season teenager Apostolos Vellios.

The 19-year-old has scored three times in 10 league appearances, although eight of them have been as substitute.

With midfielder Tim Cahill also having not scored for almost exactly a year, the team's weaknesses are being exposed.

Creativity

"A lot of criticism is levelled at our forwards, but maybe it's up to us to provide better service to them."

Phil Neville

Quotes of the week

"I always think there is a goal in us," said Neville. "A lot of criticism is levelled at our forwards, but maybe it's up to us to provide better service to them.

"When Mikel Arteta was sold in the summer you lose that little bit of creativity but we're not moaning.

"We have players such as Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell, Seamus Coleman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

"We have the quality that we should be providing better service to our strikers.

"We work on it every day and it's something we need to improve as we are in a situation where we need to start winning games."

Having had a tough series of fixtures in September and October, Everton have recovered from a run of one league win in six matches and the next month gives them a better chance of making up more lost ground.

Premier League newcomers Norwich and Swansea provide their next two opponents with strugglers Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton to follow.

"The Christmas period is vital as we have six games in a short period of time," added Neville.

"It's an opportunity to pick up points and make inroads into the league, so you can secure your place in the league and then hopefully start to look forwards and upwards.

"We are playing teams in and around us and we need to pick up points and win games because I don't think draws are good enough in this league.

"We are probably down to bare bones in terms of our squad but hopefully we'll get a couple of players back and look at this Christmas period as a way of getting some confidence back, get some points on the board and hopefully start a charge up the league."

McAleny chance

Manager David Moyes gave 19-year-old academy graduate Conor McAleny his first-team debut in Saturday's defeat at Arsenal and he admits, with the club's limited finances, that may be a route he has to take in future to find goals.

"We're looking round what we've got inside the club to see if we can solve that," said the Scot.

"We've done it with some young players and tried to look other solutions. It's a manager's job to find it if you can't get it from anywhere else."