Muhamed Besic says he is ready to play for Everton at Chelsea on Sunday after completing his first 90 minutes for the Blues since 16 April last year.
Besic lined-up against Hajduk Split on Thursday night to complete the latest phase of his comeback from a serious knee problem.
The 24-year-old’s entire 2016/17 was wiped out by the injury suffered in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial at Manchester United last August.
But after substitute outings against Hajduk in the first-leg of the Europa League tie and Manchester City earlier in the week, Besic got his chance from kick-off in Croatia.
“I am really pleased I played my first 90 minutes for nearly one-and-a-half years,” Besic told evertontv.
“It was not our best performance, as a team, but the most important thing was we got through to the next round.
“I was out for a long time and I just need two or three 90-minute games. I am fit – I just need game time, that is the only thing.
“It was a difficult game but that is the Europa League. We have the Premier League and Europa League and we have to deal with that.
“Everton as a football club deserve to be in the Europa League and we are pleased we gave the fans this – now we will look forward to it.”
Morgan Schneiderlin is suspended for the Blues’ meeting with Chelsea, while Ronald Koeman says he will make a late check on Idrissa Gana Gueye’s minor hamstring complaint.
Besic, then, could find himself starting against the Premier League champions – but he is content to leave selection choices in manager Koeman’s hands.
Whoever plays for Everton in west London, though, will enter the contest buoyed by a winning mentality, according to the Blues’ Bosnian midfielder.
“We cannot play well every time – but it is important we have that winning mentality and do not lose games,” said Besic.
“Like against Hajduk… we were not 100 per cent, maybe 60 or 70 maximum… and we did not lose the game.
“That is the winning mentality. Now we have Chelsea and we will look forward to this.
“I felt a bit tired (late in the match in Split), which is normal, but I am ready – every time.
“I will leave the decision with the coach… I am ready.”