(Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
The Bosnian's stellar performance alongside Gareth Barry was a vital part of Everton's 2-1 win over Manuel Pellegrini's team in the Capital One Cup last night, a result that sets them up nicely for the return leg at the Etihad in three weeks' time.
Before then, the two teams meet in the League next Wednesday in a fixture that a Toffees side hasn't won in over six years. Besic is in confident mood, however, and he says that the players want to finish in the top four, a goal they can build towards with a rare win on City's home turf.
"We play City in the league next week and there are three really important points to fight for because we want to get fourth place,” the 23-year-old told the Liverpool Echo.
“I think it is important to go there and get a positive result to help us prepare for the second leg. There will be a great atmosphere and it will help us if we can get a good result next week.”
Besic, making a rare start in a season in which he has battled injury problems, has earned rave reviews for his efforts in last night's first leg win. He was named as man of the match by the club but he has been quick to laud what was a terrific team effort.
“I am really happy that we won the tie," he continued. “The gaffer told us before the game to see the first leg as just one game, and that we needed to win. So it was really important to win this first game.
“I don’t know [if it was my best game for Everton so far]. I’ll have to watch it back. I was just doing my job.
“I have played in semi-finals before, back in Hungary, but that is not such a good league so this was the biggest game in my club career.
“But I am never nervous. It doesn’t matter for me who I am playing against, I just play my football.
“City are a really good team but we were good, not just me, all of the team.”
Reader Comments (75)
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1 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:26:30
2 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:36:29
3 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:36:52
4 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:37:22
5 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:44:48
6 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:44:53
Barry on the basis of well erm one game seems to really thrive as a single sitting defensive midfielder. How many challenges did he win in and just outside the box? His passing was top drawer.
And there's the rub. We all have eyes: Besic was superb last night in all aspects of his game. I'm a McCarthy fan but Besic has more to his game. Two defensive holding mids limits our options to do what we did last night (although granted we can also play lovely stuff with Macca).
I for one will be really interested to see what choices Roberto makes in this key area of the pitch in the weeks to come. I can't for the life of me see how Besic can be dropped after last night but Macca is waiting in the wings and while it makes sense perhaps to play two defensive mids in the 2nd leg I'd rather see more of the same thank-you and truly believe that we will get to Wembley if we do not sit back and instead do all the things that we did last night with Besic playing ahead of Barry.
7 Posted 07/01/2016 at 18:48:13
8 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:01:14
Could this be the kick-start we have needed? Let's just hope, if it is, i'ts not too late in terms of the League, where we have lost so many points in games we should have won.
I, like many other Evertonians, are worried that if we don't manage to get into CL qualification, it could signal the departure of some of our young stars, keen on proving themselves against Euro oposition.
It's still mathematically possible but every game from now to the finishing line will have to be approached with a similar attitude to last night!
9 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:09:02
He reminds me of Roy Keane and it is vital we keep him fit now. He is the perfect partner for Barry as well so he should be starting even when McCarthy is fit, Besic is simply a better player.
10 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:19:42
He's the best midfielder at the club, an old fashioned get stuck in, no nonsense player.
If Martinez drops him for the next game I will not be responsible for my actions.
11 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:23:47
12 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:32:39
13 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:33:09
"The best midfielder at the club", I mean I know people get a little carried away on here but come on, he's had a good game and a half but Id like to see it happen over a longer period before we start building him up too much.
That's not saying I'm not excited that he could be the missing piece to make us harder to beat. Personally when McCarthy gets back to fitness I'd play them both alongside Barry. That gives us much more solidity and allows our full backs more rein to get forward.
14 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:38:25
15 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:38:46
He's been like a beer tent in the desert these past couple of games, but he's been out a long time so lets not start saddling him with comparisons to world class players.
Give him some air.
16 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:39:40
Don't blame Martinez for not playing him up to now because of his injuries. But hopefully his time has come and he takes the opportunity and kicks us on.
A very important month as I have said before if we are still in two cup comps and climbing the league table.
17 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:41:08
18 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:44:28
19 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:52:11
I watched the lad in the World Cup and he was outstanding then also, he hardly gave Messi a kick and man marked him out the game.
20 Posted 07/01/2016 at 19:56:53
He knows his way round a footy pitch.
21 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:02:30
22 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:10:28
Whilst there is no shame in being outdone by Messi, let's not re-write history.
23 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:14:54
Martinez puts these guys up for interviews only for them to get knocked flat in the next few games. Remember Naismith was spouting Top Four shite after he beat Chelsea!
24 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:19:50
I hadn't given this much thought, but credit to Martinez for bringing all four to the club, and making midfield much stronger in numbers.
25 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:20:13
I've seen him live in about half the 23 games he's started for us and without doubt the last game and a half he has played this week have been his best.
It will be great if he maintains that standard because he will definitely force is way into the team on a regular basis but I'm not getting carried away just yet.
26 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:21:52
I remember Baines saying that Lennon gave the rest a right gee up. Surely it should be a given that the players would give their best every game.
27 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:22:56
I feel that Everton really do have to score at least a good couple of goals at the Etihad to get to the final as I feel that City will go all out in the 2nd leg. Everton have got what it takes in midfield and up front but the problem will lie in defence. Everton are way to open, and have got to seriously tighten up the defence if they want to reach the final.
28 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:48:04
I'm not saying he's a messiah only that I think he's our best midfield player, I have seen fuck all apart from Barry who has a wealth of experience to convince me otherwise.
29 Posted 07/01/2016 at 20:49:22
We all take too much notice of the shite manager and players spout these days and in many ways I preferred the Catterick era when he and players were judged solely on performance AND RESULTS !
30 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:01:56
31 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:02:17
Without sounding bad, I think Besic could just be that nasty horrible bugger we have craved all season in the midfield.
32 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:12:40
33 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:33:22
34 Posted 07/01/2016 at 21:36:05
35 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:03:26
Christ, you're in for lumps and you'll never get a second's rest.
I know the league campaign has been frustrating, but last night in my opinion was a glimpse into the future of what could be. And it is a glorious anticipation for me at least.
We have the makings of something very, very special brewing, and Mo is a part of that.
Here's to good health, and some degree of loyalty from these younger players so Everton can reap the benefits of these kids and their talents.
36 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:16:52
He had his best game for us against City but he will face more physical opposition so he will need to keep his cool and continue his positive attitude.It was great to see a proper midfielder closing down and passing forwards. Let us hope that his enthusiasm rubs off on those around him.
37 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:37:23
38 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:57:31
I would also suggest keeping Besic's performances in perspective as he's barely played the last year. He's had a good game and a half. Let's give some time. I like roller coasters but I don't get on one every time a player has a good game or two.
39 Posted 07/01/2016 at 22:58:08
40 Posted 07/01/2016 at 23:24:15
41 Posted 07/01/2016 at 23:47:38
I think the plan was to give him a bigger role in the team this year he started against Chelsea but was injured in 10 minutes and then forgotten after Naismith scored the hattrick.
42 Posted 08/01/2016 at 00:19:28
Another top 4. Am I pissed off to the back teeth hearing that.
Let's get to a position were we can have a real chance and take it from there. It's all possitive talk. To me its shite.
43 Posted 08/01/2016 at 00:20:35
I'm delighted we're one goal to the good against Man City but to salvage the season in a meaningful way after what we've all had to endure so far we need to achieve consistency in a winning way. Two wins in a row would no doubt be described as "incredible/phenomenal" from our very own Baldrick but that's no longer going to get us close to what we should be achieving this season (or last, come to that).
Please Everton players, give me hope!
44 Posted 08/01/2016 at 00:38:24
45 Posted 08/01/2016 at 01:24:48
Your obviously thinking more short term rather long.
One thing I did notice about him how short his passes were. That will come with games? I don't think so Steve.
Getting stuck in is alright with me, just get use to him missing games.
He plays two games and now he like the second coming. Get real.
46 Posted 08/01/2016 at 01:46:11
If required - he can do a man marking job as well.
He's had Messi and, (I say this as a Welshman) Bale is in his pocket. He actually kept with Bale when Bale went on a full on sprint.
I can't speak highly enough of him - if nothing else, even if he's having a bad game, his desire and determination to win is infectious.
He hates to lose - and its written all over his face. Its what winners are made out of - and for the first time watching us the last two games I haven't felt like we've been "too nice".
He's added some mongrel to our side.
Longterm - he's captain material and you build your midfield around him.
It's been noticeable how his drive and energy has risen the performance tempo and standards of the other players and the fans have reacted to this.
Great write up on him here.
47 Posted 08/01/2016 at 01:47:22
I'm more worried about loss of form than cards, red or yellow. Worrying about cards is like worrying about taxes and death.
48 Posted 08/01/2016 at 02:35:23
Besic is hungry for games and only time will tell if he is the missing link we think is needed.
I was hoping this would be Martinez's last season, however if we go on to win a cup and finish the season strong then putting up with his bullshit sound bites next season will be worth it.
I ask of one thing only, beat the red shite convincingly at Anfield and I will die a happy man. I was in the kop when we beat them 2 nil in the 80s.
49 Posted 07/01/2016 at 02:50:32
Much credit must go to Roberto Martinez who not only signed Besic, he coached him individually for the No 6 role and persuaded him to strengthen his body. He also placed Big Dunc with Lukaku and the improvement has been nothing short of spectacular. In the meantime, with regard to the 1st XI, he brought in Cleverley, Lennon, Funes Mori and Deulofeu, promoted Browning from the U21s and gradually awarded Barkley a permanent role in the side.
All well and good but he is now being forced to review the goalkeeping situation with Tim Howard one major error away from a riot. Quite sad really. He has been a hero many times during his Everton career but fans now think it's time for him to step aside. None of us can go on forever. Not even Tiger Tim.
Getting back to Funes Mori. What this lad has achieved is truly remarkable. No time to bed in. Thrown straight into the deep end and left to sink or swim. Even players at the very top are not expected to do that. For him, coming from a different hemisphere, a different country, a different culture, a different style of football, the challenge must have been massive. Yet there he was the other night, throwing his body in front of shots and calmly slotting in our first goal. A character of steel I would say.
So there it is. We're getting there. According to Martinez, even if top players leave we'll grow stronger. Got to hand it to the fella. He speaks a strange language but we're always on the way up. Even those mindblowing years of tippy tappy is paying off. The way the ten men kept the ball to play out time wouldn't have been possible when he first arrived.
For me it's all good fun. I like to see how he does things. Most of the time he drives me crackers and I scream blue murder but that's all part of being a football fan. Nothing like a good rant when we play badly. I find it very therapeutic.
50 Posted 08/01/2016 at 04:43:14
Most of the year we have had no baines no jags, but instead a high-potential rookie who still makes mistakes in Stones, and a fresh out of South America signing along with an 18-year-old Galloway (or is he 19 these days)?
Sure Howard is also culpable, but these three kids are having to deal with the toughest league in the world at the highest level possible and even tiny mistakes get punished.
51 Posted 08/01/2016 at 05:33:41
1. Which of our defenders is the best header of a ball?
2. Now that Jagielka has recovered from his injury what are we going to do with him?
Yes we are getting there.
52 Posted 08/01/2016 at 06:43:10
Couldn't be blamed for their goal, in fact if Stones had left Aguero to him and not gone across to double up on him he (Stones) might have been able to get to Navas and cut off his unchallenged run into the box. Martinez definitely has some great talent at his disposal. It will be a test of his managerial skills in the next few weeks to see how he handles his team selection. Does he go with the new young guns, Besic and Funes Mori for example, or bring back the old guard, Jags and McCarthy? I think it's time for him to show us he's got the balls to make big decisions that could define our season.
Remember his words about building a team based on youth? Funes Mori and Besic with their young fit legs with Stones, Robles, Deulofeu alongside Rom together with the steadying influence of Baines, Barry, and Cleverley, (not too old by a long chalk), makes for a pretty good base to build on, in my humble opinion. I've only supported the club for fifty seven years, so may not know everything, but I know potential when I see it. Look forward Roberto, not backwards. Sorry Jags, as much as I love you for what you've brought to the club I think your place I under serious threat from the new kids on the block.
53 Posted 08/01/2016 at 06:58:08
However, would Besic or Mori be in the side at all but for injury? He recruits them but then he leaves them out in favour of the seniors whenever he can.
Wednesday was great but I still think this manager is a bad thing overall for our club. As it is customary to say, I truly hope I am wrong.
54 Posted 08/01/2016 at 08:00:04
Next two away games against Man City and Chelsea will give us the correct judgement of the team. Even though taking nothing away from the team performance, which was fantastic, and got some life into Goodison crowd.
55 Posted 08/01/2016 at 09:14:17
Some players are truly surprising. During a match last season, the ball went out for a throw-in near the halfway line. Stones picked it up and nonchalantly hurled it like arrow to Jags who was 25 /30 yards away. Truly awesome. I showed a replay to my sons and they gasped with mouths open.
What will happen when Jags is fully fit? He is the captain, he has all the experience and can cover the ground quicker than the present CBs. He'll definitely regain his place and, putting my own opinion aside, Martinez is big on Premier League experience which places Funes Mori on the bench. Not sure I'd be keen on removing our best set-piece goal threat but Martinez has a stubborn streak and certain players are always sure of a start.
56 Posted 08/01/2016 at 10:02:47
57 Posted 08/01/2016 at 10:35:09
If Coleman isn't fit this or next week, maybe, but for any other reason, no thanks. This week I'd play Lennon at right back with a licence to get forward as much as possible.
58 Posted 08/01/2016 at 11:03:17
If Mo maintains the standard of the past two games, not only will he cement a place in the starting XI, Europe's elite will soon be sniffing around him. In the future, I'd love to see a midfield with Mo (as skipper) and Ledson / Walsh... the future is bright, it's royal blue.
59 Posted 08/01/2016 at 11:08:26
An absolute joy following the Blues then; a developing team of quality youngsters mixed with old heads, regular high-scoring wins, home and away: 4-2 , 7-1, 6-2, 5-2, great football and the defeats quickly forgotten about with the post-match brown mixed
60 Posted 08/01/2016 at 11:09:20
For me, temper his runs or he needs better cover. I'd keep the current back 4. It has taken a long time for people to appreciate how good Barry is. Master class.
61 Posted 08/01/2016 at 11:37:28
On another note, I will be very disappointed if Funes Mori is not retained in the first team. He has been superb.
62 Posted 08/01/2016 at 13:02:28
We shouldn't underestimate any opposition but we should be able to give one or two younger players a bit of game time. Rodriguez should be fit by now and without Rom it might be good to have a look at some of these players.
63 Posted 08/01/2016 at 13:15:16
Funes Mori has done well especially in the air but some of his passing terrifies me at times as he seems to switch off for a millisecond occasionally.
Funes Mori could end up covering right back with Seamus's injury (so could Galloway I suppose). Pity Browning is injured as I think he's a tremendous prospect.
I just think Jagielka's experience and his bossing about of his team mates helps us look more solid. Barry has excelled himself this season after a dodgy one last season; he's the fulcrum of a lot of what we do, breaking play up and setting us going. If we can achieve that solidity whilst retaining our exciting attacking play, then we could really push on.
64 Posted 08/01/2016 at 13:21:08
I would definitely rest Coleman, Stones, Barry, Cleverley, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley and maybe Baines. Game time for several of these Galloway, Jagielka, Besic, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Kone, Lennon, Naismith, Oviedo and Pienaar.
Some on that list will be unfit or being transferred.
65 Posted 08/01/2016 at 14:55:34
66 Posted 08/01/2016 at 15:15:17
We drew against a tiring Spurs side who actually battered us first half and we scraped through by the odd goal against City and we have turned a corner and RM is the messiah.
Come on lads Martinez career is filled with inconsistency and leaky defences.
I am not saying don't enjoy the moment but it will be a while yet before we can measure ourselves against the best.
A new GK will be a good start and throwing the 4-2-3-1 in dusty bin would be another requisite.
67 Posted 08/01/2016 at 15:33:04
68 Posted 08/01/2016 at 16:40:04
69 Posted 08/01/2016 at 16:53:14
70 Posted 08/01/2016 at 17:00:32
Funes Mori is left footed and favours the left side.
Jags and Stones are right footed and play better/favour the right hand side.
Simples! Funes Mori retains his place.
Also, we may not have to choose. Perhaps fate has forced Roberto's hand into playing his once favoured 3-5-2, 3-4-3 etc. It would probably be the best way to go, during Seamus injury, to allow more of our better players on the pitch at the same time.
His best players in a 3-4-3 might look something like this;
Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori
2x Wing backs in Baines and Lennon.
2 x Barry (hold) Besic (box-to-box link up),
and 3 free roam attackers in Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku.
Might actually be a bit too defensive but I hope you can appreciate the effort of trying to get our 10 best outfield players on the pitch at the same time.
71 Posted 08/01/2016 at 18:10:35
Hope that works.
This kid is the real deal. Was delighted when we signed him. He will be a blue legend (if Bobby keeps playing him).
72 Posted 08/01/2016 at 19:17:13
Me too. Funes Mori seemed hellbent on trying to perfect the hospital ball, not only was he putting us on the backfoot, he was endangering his teammates.
He only did one against Spurs and he didn't do any against Man City. I'm hoping we can put it down to acclimatisation. They give you a little more room for error when passing out of defence in South America. It must come as a bit of a culture shock when you see people like Jamie Vardy ready to contest every pass you make.
Defensively he is adapting reasonably well and I would give him 7/10 which isn't bad all considering.
73 Posted 09/01/2016 at 10:35:42
I like that our keeper doesn't just boot possession away and that we try and build an attack but sometimes a defender just has to put his foot through it!
74 Posted 09/01/2016 at 11:16:47
I've learned not to get carried away under this guy and let's not forget that, as well as we played against Man City, it took us 20 minutes to get into the game.
I'm still not totally convinced about Besic because he seems to waste a lot of passes and even the short ball he vastly overhits. That said, the last one-and-a-half games, he has been outstanding... so credit where credit is due. And the defence looks more compact and assured with him in front of them.
As for his comment about the top 4... all a bit silly: we'll be lucky to finish in the top half of the table. Not a prayer we'll take anything from Man City or Chelsea away our recent results will tell you that and it looks like Chelsea have hit a bit of form that'll leave us in he bottom half of the table.
I firmly believe we'll finish there; however, perform like we did against City... and you never know!
75 Posted 10/01/2016 at 05:46:50
So the manager played Jagielka instead of Stones against Dagenham that makes sense to me because I do think Stones will benefit from the extra recovery time.
The selection for Wednesday night will be interesting... as you said, Jagielka covers the ground better than both Stones and Funes Mori. It is a conundrum though; I am not sure what I would do in his place given the choice. My head tells me that it has to be Jagielka and Stones but there is something very appealing to me about a left-footed, left-side centre-back that can head the ball.
Your comments about Gibson's and Barkley's heading ability got me thinking a bit. I like Gibson as a footballer but have never really given much thought about his ability in the air. That's a big plus for a midfielder, isn't it?
I don't want to start another Barkley debate but if he has that heading ability perhaps the manger should give him a few sessions with Duncan it has certainly paid dividends with Lukaku.
I have enjoyed this thread; as Phil at #59 suggested, a lot us are having a bit of fun now. For those who aren't yet, hang in there it's getting closer. I think the mad genius has had a Eureka moment.
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