DINIYAR Bilyaletdinov believes Everton need regular European qualification to develop a style of play on par with the Premier League’s top four.
The Russian midfielder says the Blues can already match most teams for easy on the eye football when they are at full strength, but insists that playing in the Europa League again is essential for the team to carry on evolving.
This campaign has been the first without any continental competition for the Blues in some time, and Bily hopes that they can still sneak into the top six – even if they must sacrifice their passing game in the short term to do it.
Bilyaletdinov, who scored Everton’s third goal in their impressive 3-0 away victory over Wolves, said: “It’s better for Everton to take part in European competition because they can raise their standard, and it helps us to see we can be better and play another style.
“Teams like Everton can play a passing game. For now we’ve got injuries and although we’ve got a lot of clever players, sometimes you do need to be more direct. We have many injuries at the moment, so we had a specific plan for the match.
“It wasn’t our typical approach of passing and moving. We knew we needed hard work, and we didn’t do it too well for the first 15 minutes but after we scored we did well after that.”
Bily admits he has had to adapt to the pace of the English game, but believes he has proved he is capable of competing against any style of opponent.
He said: “You have to be tough, and win headers. David Moyes asked me to learn that.
“It was something new for me when I came, but sometimes you have to do it in English football. Some games you only get to head the ball or tackle everywhere.
“It’s different in the Premier League. Most teams play very strongly, but then there are Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham who always try to play in the same style.
“The others teams play a fast, high tempo, game but it’s different from the continent. The Spanish game isn’t so fast but they make the ball work and move it quickly. England has powerful players.”
Bilyaletdinov, who won the award for Everton’s goal of the season with a strike against Manchester United at Goodison Park, hopes to be in contention for the award again this time around.
“My favourite was against Manchester United last year but I really enjoyed it.,” he said. “I’ve actually scored from a longer distance in the cup against Spartak
I want to score goals and be influential for the team and the fans. It’s important for the supporters that we carry on working hard.”