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Stones lauds Blues' character

by | 03/10/2014  Comments (8)  jump
John Stones admits that Everton took time to get to grips of the pace of last evening's match in Krasnodar but that the players showed great character to earn what he describes as "a very good point."

The Blues had to deal with an energetic performance from their Russian hosts for the first hour of the Group H match and fell behind to Ari's goal after 43 minutes.

Having weathered Krasnodar's storm, though, the Blues grew into the contest and equalised through Samuel Eto'o with seven minutes to go.

"It was hard," the young defender said. "[W]e don't get to see much of the Russian league, so we did our homework on them... as much as we could.

"But you never really know until you get here and play them. It was pretty much a learning curve for us all. It is always hard when you are coming away to a such a hostile environment like here I suppose. It was very strange for us, something we are not used to.

"I think it is a very good point that we got out of the game. It was a bit sloppy for the first goal, but I thought the character we showed to come back and score the equaliser was credit to ourselves."

Stones emerged from what was a disappointing team performance overall with huge credit, adding to his burgeoning reputation as a future Everton great, and he says that the match in unfamiliar surroundings was good experience, especially with the support from the die-hard fans who made the long trip:

"It is a big learning curve for me and one of these nights - you'll never forget the first one.

"The fans were brilliant. To see them in the hotel before the game and see them cheering us on from the away end was massive. A big thanks to them.

Captain Phil Jagielka, who is expected to be fit for Sunday's visit to Manchester United despite taking a knock against Krasnodar, had a similar take on the match, saying that the players "knew it was going to be tough."

"We sort of weathered the storm for most of the first half and then gave away a bit of a sloppy goal," he continued.

"But, fair play to the lads, they never gave in. Krasnodar had a couple more chances and we managed to keep it at 1-0, and you've obviously always got a chance of getting a goal."

Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, was under no illusions about the nature of the Blues' performance in Russia.

"The first half was disappointing but you've got to give credit to them as well - they came at us and they made it really difficult," the Catalan told reporters. "The pitch was quite lively to say the least, but there's no excuses. We came here, didn't perform as well as we wanted to in the first half, but a point's not the end of the Earth.

"We're quite happy with four points from two games and we'll look forward to the next one now."

Quotes or other material sourced from Sky Sports News,

Reader Comments (8)

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Norman Merrill
1 Posted 03/10/2014 at 18:53:58
Like Ross Barkley, young Stones is our future, I just hope we can keep hold, when the offers start flooding in.
Les Fitzpatrick
2 Posted 03/10/2014 at 19:53:50
Well done to John Stones last night. He acquitted himself well.

Bainesy seems to be getting some better form, so onwards and upwards.


Harold Matthews
3 Posted 03/10/2014 at 20:26:03
Yes, their goal was sloppy. Jags stuck a toe in and Stones and Hibbo were caught napping. That aside, all three had a decent game.

Glad Roberto mentioned the liveliness of the pitch. At first I thought it was plastic. Unlike our watered surface it was as hard as a rock and caused our lads to miscontrol all night. Stones had the ability to manage but it gave their three technically gifted Brazilians a big advantage.

Mike Childs
4 Posted 03/10/2014 at 23:05:12
Hopefully we can find a proper partner for young Mr. Stones. Rom up front, Barkley Besic and McCarthy in MF. Coleman & Baines at FB and away we go.....
John Voigt
5 Posted 04/10/2014 at 01:37:54
Everton is a stable club. I like the fact that young players get a chance. Stones and Barkley are future stars.

Those that want Everton to imitate the big clubs and just buy new foreign players don't understand how important keeping players hopes and aspirations high are.

A case in point is Deelboy, who came on loan last year. He signed for a big club and keeps getting loaned out to a different team each season. The lack of continuity is not helping him. Maybe he'd consider a permanent move back to Everton.

Les Fitzpatrick
6 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:36:05
Yes John @5 ...

It would be great if we could get Delboy back for two or three seasons.

Aidy Dews
7 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:55:30
Harold #3, Stones wasn't caught napping for their goal, he followed his runner, it was Jags and Hibbo who made the mistakes!

There was plenty of men back and in and around the play so there was no need for Jags to step out like he did. Stones followed the man that made the run from left to right and Hibbo didn't tuck in and close off the space that was left in the box due to Stones doing his job and Jags not so much by stepping out of the back line unnecessarily, leaving Ari to run through and have a free effort at goal.

I thought Stones played really well Thursday, really stood up to the challenge, tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck, got stuck in, tried to make us play and tbh showed his captain up.

If we can keep hold of these top youngsters we've got, add to it here and there, then we're going to have some team.

Obviously Howard isn't getting any younger, and if I'm being honest, I'm not sure Joel is the answer to replacing him, so if we could get a good young keeper, to complete our spine of the team, it's gonna be some spine! A new keeper, Stones, McCarthy & Besic, Barkley and Lukaku, then we've got the likes of Coleman, Oviedo & Garbutt who are of a good age, Browning and Galloway to come through as well in defence.

In midfield we have Gibbo who is a good age still, same with Mirallas. I just think we're lacking another, young and talented winger. If Deulofeu was a possibility in the future, I think we'd be mad to not be in for him. I actually think we miss him this season.

Upfront we are lacking after Rom tbh. Kone has about another 2 years in him at us IMO, Eto'o another year... so we need to be looking at adding in that department.

But the core of our squad is of a good age and is very talented and with more years under Martinez, we will improve even more and get even better. We are in a bit of a lull atm, our first real sticky patch under Martinez, but we'll come through it and be sound.

Peter Gorman
8 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:40:26
A very good point only in the sense that we didn't deserve it.

I wish the players would show the character to actually beat shite opposition like Krasnodar. Stones is a great player but I wish he wouldn't take a leaf out of the manager's book and insult our intelligence with pish about character.

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