Nikola Vlasic insists there is plenty of scope for him become “much better” in an Everton shirt – but admits he is “happy” with his start to life at Goodison Park.
The Croatian winger scored his first Toffees goal in Thursday’s Europa League tie with Apollon Limassol, when he strode onto Gylfi Sigurdsson’s incisive pass and dispatched clinically beyond goalkeeper Bruno Vale.
Manager Ronald Koeman praised the teenager’s “energy” and quality of football following his half-time introduction against the Cypriots.
Koeman was similarly complimentary following Vlasic’s full Everton debut in Atalanta a fortnight ago, while the attacker turned in a sparkling performance on his second Blues start in the Carabao Cup meeting with Sunderland.
Vlasic, though, is confident of building on his strong initial impact, after arriving at Everton with 120 appearances for former club Hajduk Split under his belt – and having made his debut for the Croatian club at the tender age of 16.
“I am happy because I have already had a chance to play two games from the start,” Vlasic told evertontv. “I am happy with that but I have many games in my legs, because I played from when I was very young.
“I know I will need time to adjust (to Everton and English football) but I think I will be much better – I am not fully adjusted yet.”
Vlasic’s classy finish put Everton 2-1 in front against Apollon, only for the visitors to hit back with an 88th-minute leveller – the second time in two group matches the Cypriots have struck late to earn a draw following their stoppage-time equaliser against Lyon earlier this month.
Indeed, even after Hector Yuste’s header made it 2-2, Everton could have won the match. Vale saved from Dominic Calvert-Lewin after Vlasic tenaciously won possession on the left and sent a pinpoint cross onto his striker’s head.
“Sometimes you need luck in football,” said 19-year-old Vlasic. “We did not have any on Thursday. We had some chances we did not take. But in the second half they had one chance and scored.
“We hope we have more luck on Sunday."