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Moyes unhappy with Wembley semi

David Moyes celebrates with Phil Neville
Moyes celebrates with Phil Neville following Sunday's win over Boro

Everton manager David Moyes has spoken out over the use of Wembley as host stadium for the FA Cup semi-finals.

The Toffees progressed into the last four of England's premier domestic cup competition with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday.

But ahead of next month's game against Manchester United, the Scot said: "It's great to be in the semis but I'd prefer the match was away from Wembley.

"I don't think anyone likes it. Wembley should only be used for the final."

The Football Association decided in January 2003 that the new Wembley Stadium - which staged its first match in March 2007 - would host all future FA Cup semi-finals as well as finals.

Previously, neutral grounds such as Villa Park, Old Trafford and Hillsborough hosted the last-four matches and the decision to stage them all at Wembley in the future angered some traditionalists at the time.

The decision was made with a view to helping repay the costs of building the new stadium - estimated at 757m - but Moyes believes it dilutes the achievement of reaching the FA Cup final.

"I wanted to go to Wembley but in the final not in the semi-final," he stated.

"We're in the semi-final of the Cup but, while that's better than we've done before, it's not the final and it's not winning it, that's what I'd really like to do."

The Toffees boss also revealed it took a half-time dressing down to inspire Everton to a win against Middlesbrough and reach an FA Cup semi-final for the first time in 14 years.

Boro led 1-0 at half-time through David Wheater's 44th-minute goal but Marouane Fellaini and Louis Saha scored to give Everton a showdown against Manchester United.

"It was who could get into the dressing room first and my coach Steve Round got there," revealed Everton manager Moyes. "We told them in no uncertain terms that the way we played in the first half is not the way Everton play.

"We were favourites but I was worried that there would be one game this weekend that didn't go the way everyone expected and for a long while I feared it would be us.

"There was a lot of reorganisation needed at the break but they also needed to be really charged up. I can be angry at half-time but Steve got there first this time and did a good job on them. I felt they responded very well.

"We have earned the right to go to a final, having beaten Liverpool and Aston Villa so far. Now we have to beat a really good side to get to the final."

And Moyes reserved special praise for match-winner Saha, who he tipped to have a big impact on the run-in of Everton's season.

We win or lose as a team, I do not understand why people always want to find someone to blame

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate
"He is the only forward we have at the club who can provide that sort of goal threat," said Moyes. "We will take it carefully, it will be up to Louis when he feels he can last a full match.

"But when we can use him from the start in matches it will boost our chances on both fronts, the cup and the league."

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate refused to blame Brad Jones for the defeat, despite the goalkeeper being at fault for both Everton goals.

"We win or lose as a team, I do not understand why people always want to find someone to blame," said Southgate.

"As far as I am concerned, Brad Jones has been excellent for us, whatever might have happened on the goals, that is football.

"Did we do enough as a team to win the game? Probably not, that is what we must look at.

"It is a shame for the fans. Going to Wembley would have been something to look forward to but now we have a quarter of the season to go to get ourselves out of the relegation zone."

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see also
Everton 2-1 Middlesbrough
08 Mar 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup as it happened
08 Mar 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup photos
08 Mar 09 |  Football
New Wembley to host semis
03 Jan 03 |  FA Cup

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