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MORE FOOLS YOU DEL BOY; Spain boss sees Michu play like a plonker.

Byline: Alan Nixon

Everton 0

Swansea 0

VICENTE del Bosque went home with a longer face than usual after watching Michu miss his big chance to impress.

The veteran coach of Spain's magnificent team must have wondered why he had gone to cold and cheerless Merseyside to look at the Premier League's scoring sensation.

Michu chose the wrong day to have his quietest game in Swansea colours, going close just once, and was booked and then substituted to his displeasure before the end of a dull draw.

Del Bosque had the consolation of seeing fellow countryman Chico Flores in fine form at the back, but it would still take a stiff brandy or two to warm his cockles after this one. And perhaps a quick scan of the channels on the hotel television was called for to watch some badly-missed colour from La Liga before he hit the sack.

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup thought the Spanish chief had wasted a trip and said: "If Del Bosque had called me before I would have told him it wasn't the best game to see Michu.

"But Del Bosque knows exactly what Michu has done. It was just a visit. I think he has made his mind up."

Michu is due to get a debut call from his country soon. He has to hope Laudrup is right - the way he threw away his gloves suggests there are doubts in his mind about the impact of this show.

It was a day of missed chances all round as Everton blew so many opportunities to stay close to the top four. For the first time since September 1, David Moyes's men failed to fire in a Premier League game.

The only consolation was their first clean sheet since their 3-0 win in south Wales almost four months ago. Moyes groaned: "We needed to play a bit better and pass it a bit quicker and be a bit cleverer in the final third.

"There were a few chances, three or four good opportunities, but maybe nothing perfect. I could not say somebody missed a sitter. I can't fault the players for their efforts, we just could not get the ball over the line."

Everton could have made the game easier with an early goal, but Nikica Jelavic was inches from turning in a deep cross from Steven Pienaar.

Jelavic went close with a glancing header from a Leighton Baines corner as the Swans struggled to cope in the air, and they were surprisingly weak going forward.

They looked jaded after their recent adventures - and with one eye on the Capital One Cup final.

But Everton should have been better as they focus on a top-four finish. Their build-ups were slow and predictable, with one too many pass and not enough width.

When the Toffees went direct it worked, Victor Anichebe connecting with Marouane Fellaini's flick and making Michel Vorm and Ashley Williams hack off the line. Michu came to life in his crafty way with a cheeky chip that Tim Howard tipped on to the crossbar. It was his first save - after 35 minutes.

Everton's agony in front of goal continued as Fellaini half hit a Seamus Coleman cutback and Leon Osman headed wide, wasting a chance to celebrate his 10th anniversary as a first teamer.

Even Phil Neville had a go after the break - Vorm pushing his stab away - while Sylvain Distin headed another Baines corner over.

Swansea clung on, and the disappointing Pablo Hernandez almost sneaked a goal with a deflection off Distin.

The attacks grew more frantic. Jelavic went down easily and got a ticking-off from Williams, who also hacked the ball away the from Fellaini in a scramble.

Phil Jagielka put over another header - from a Baines corner - as the chances were frittered away.

Jelavic and substitute Steven Naismith rushed late attempts to break the deadlock. Swansea were on the ropes, but they avoided the knockout blow. Laudrup admitted: "Sometimes you have to accept that the opponent isn't going to allow you to play your game.

"For two games now we have not had the ball as much as we are used to. But we still performed so well.

"We have had two clean sheets in a row and that says a lot about our team and spirit. We knew there would be balls in the air but our central defenders were outstanding."

Moyes's lack of options was obvious in the bench he had to pick from and he said: "We could do with having Kevin Mirallas back to give us something different up front."


One of the signings of the season, the big South Korean is sheer elegance and has a happy habit of finding the the right pass.

EVERTON: Howard 7 - Coleman 7, Jagielka 7, Distin 6, *BAINES 7 - Anichebe 5 (Vellios, 84mins), Neville 6 (Naismith, 70mins, 5), Osman 6, Pienaar 7 - Fellaini 7 - Jelavic 6.

SWANSEA: Vorm 7 - Tiendalli 7, Flores 8, Williams 7, Davies 7 - Rangel 6, Agustien 5, *KI 8, Hernandez 4 (Routledge, 75mins) - Michu 6 (Graham 82mins), Dyer 5 (de Guzman 58mins, 5).

REF: P. Dowd 7.

SHOCKER Hernandez

No need to wait by the phone for a call-up from Spain after this display in front of Del Bosque. Big disappointment.


5 Shots on Target 3

8 Shots off Target 1

7 Corners 1

13 Fouls 10

3 Offsides 1

1 Yellow Cards 4

0 Red Cards 0

82.5% Passing Success 75.4%

55.4% Possession 44.6%

56.9% Territory 40.4%


WASTED JOURNEY: Del Bosque left disappointed

VORM'S EYE VIEW: Swansea keeper Michel Vorm spots the danger just in time, as he pulls off a save from Victor Anichebe
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 13, 2013
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