Everton manager David Moyes is not the vengeful sort - but he admitted that the seeds of Saturday's defeat were sown at Villa Park on Boxing Day.

Aston Villa's 4-0 destruction of Moyes' men that evening may have been flattering, and triggered by an outrageous handball incident but the Everton boss still used the memory of it to motivate his men.

"Of course I mentioned it to the players," said Moyes. "That day at Villa Park marked a period when we really down but we're now scoring goals and playing well and we just needed to continue to do that."

Moyes admitted, getting a sixth successive home win for the first time since 1990 was no formality.

"Credit Villa," said Moyes. "They had chances too. We just got the goals at the right time.

"If you'd seen Villa against Blackburn a week ago, they were very good. How they didn't win, nobody knows. So we knew it would be tough. And they did put us under pressure in the second half, especially when they scored."

Villa boss David O'Leary was once again left bemoaning his side's glaring weakness - their soft centre at the back.

"That long ball has been killing us all season," said O'Leary. "Our inability to defend set-plays and high balls has again cost us.

"A simple route-one move got the better of us and suddenly we're a goal down.

"We might have got a goal back almost straight away and had three cleared off the line which might have changed the course of the game, but it wasn't to be.

"Instead they got another couple and you can't expect to come back from 3-0 down at Goodison at the moment.

"The silly thing is that we might have done just that. The goal from Gabby Agbonlahor lifted us and we had a few skirmishes in the second half when we might have got it back to 3-3. But again we didn't defend well enough and let them get a fourth.

"I was delighted for Gabby to get a goal on his debut. It's great to get off to a start like that and it again shows that the backbone of the club is looking good for the future."