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ARRETA: WE WILL REMAIN FOCUSED; High-flying Everton stay calm.

Byline: By IAN DOYLE

MIKEL ARTETA believes Everton will not become carried away by their excellent start to the season.

David Moyes' side currently stand in joint third place in the early Premiership table after securing seven points out of a possible nine following their win at Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.

The victory was Everton's first at White Hart Lane in 21 years and only their second triumph in London in 28 visits to the capital.

It ensured Everton's best start to a season under Moyes but, with memories of last season's poor opening still fresh in the mind, midfielder Arteta has urged the Goodison side to keep building upon their improving form.

"I don't want to think about what might happen or whether our start sends out a message to other clubs," said the Basque schemer.

"All I know is that we had a bad start last season and we are having a good one this season. We should enjoy it, go game by game, improve on things every week and see what happens.

"Hopefully we can keep this run going, because it's always nice to start a season properly.

"Last year was very difficult for us in the beginning period, but it has been much better this time. The team has more confidence, we are winning games and the players have been working together for another year, which I have said before I think is important."

Everton reverted to a 4-5-1 formation at White Hart Lane after beginning the campaign with the 4-1-3-2 line-up favoured by Moyes during pre-season, with tactics altering once again following Kevin Kil-bane's 32nd-minute red card.

And Arteta reckons the ease at which Everton's players assumed their changing roles illustrates the versatility of the squad.

"Everybody is playing well, and the manager is changing the team around now and we are able to play different formations," said the midfielder.

"We started with a 4-5-1 at Tottenham, and after the sending-off we had to change things again. Every player is doing their job, and it's not easy when you change formations because it can take players a while to settle, but we're doing very well."

Arteta added: "When Kevin was sent off it looked like it was going to be difficult for us, especially as they have so many attacking players and we'd have to play against them for 60-6' minutes with only 10 men.

"But the sending-off gave us something of a lift, in a strange way. We knew we had to group together and to work hard because we wanted to keep our good start to the season going.

"I think we not only held on, but we played some good football, ran for each other, created some chances and it ended up being a great game for us. I think everybody played well."

Meanwhile, reports stated Everton are close to signing 16-year-old goalkeeper Lars Stubhaug from SK Vard Haugesund.


Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2006
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