Vlasic: I Have Full Belief Blues Will Bounce Back

by Paul McNamara

Nikola Vlasic says he “believes in his team” and Everton “deserved more” than to go down to a 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Sunday.

Vlasic started for the first time in the Premier League as Jeff Hendrick’s 21st-minute strike condemned the Toffees to a narrow loss at Goodison.

The Croat, signed in August from Hajduk Split, was one of Everton’s brightest performers against the Clarets and teed up Gylfi Sigurdsson for an early shot that was sharply saved by visiting goalkeeper Nick Pope.

But Vlasic accepted his portion of the blame for the goal that ultimately decided the match, and confessed his side found the going tough following Hendrick’s breakthrough, with Sean Dyche’s defensively adept team a notoriously tough nut to crack.

“It is very disappointing because we started the game very well,” Vlasic told evertontv.

“We had chances, we pushed them into their defensive 60 metres – but we made one or two mistakes and conceded a goal.

“In the first half, yes (I was happy with my performance), but the goal – I was part of that mistake. I am very sad about that but I gave it my all and I wanted us to score the goal to earn a point – I wanted to win but after 1-0 you need to score two goals.

“I am very disappointed about that. But I believe in this team. I think we are very good players and we have a good manager.

“Sometimes in football, you have luck.. sometimes you do not. In the past few games we had many opportunities but did not score – and if the opposing team had an opportunity they scored.

“In the future, it will be better.”

Hendrick applied the finishing touch to a 24-pass Burnley move to put his side ahead against the run of play. The Irishman received the ball from Stephen Ward after the left-back had escaped the otherwise impressive Vlasic’s attentions to cut back a pass for the goalscorer.

And Vlasic admitted Everton were conscious of how difficult obdurate Burnley would be to break down if the visitors got their noses in front.

Dyche’s side came to Goodison Park buoyed by their formidable record on the road this season, having already won at reigning champions Chelsea and secured draws from visits to Tottenham and Liverpool.

The Lancashire club have lost only once in seven matches – and conceded just five goals – to sit sixth in the nascent Premier League table.

“We knew if they scored, they would put all 11 players behind the ball,” said Vlasic. “That is what they do, they just defend and wait for the counter attack.

“But in the second half they did not have a chance, we had some chances, crosses – and I am very disappointed.

“They started to hit longer free-kicks and stuff like that, and it is hard to play quick football because of that.

“We tried, we had many opportunities but we did not score. Maybe we could have had a penalty but I think we deserved more – a point at least. We could have won easily if we had scored first.

“But we need to keep going and not be down.”

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