One of the currently longest-tenured players at Everton, Leighton Baines has talked about his excitement at the additions Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman have made as the Blues returned to European action.
The left back scored the only goal of the game as the Toffees won 1-0 against MFK Ruzomberok at Goodison Park on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League Third Qualifying Round fixture. The return game will be helf in Slovakia this coming Thursday.
Speaking to the club website, Baines said -
“It is exciting to be a part of it, as a player and a fan. It is easy as a player to roll with things and not pause to see what is happening.
“Sometimes it is nice to observe everything that is happening and think, ‘wow, this is really good… this is a good time’.
“But, although it is an exciting time now, we have to do it on the pitch. That is what we are working towards.
“We have a lot of new players, and we are looking to get relationships going on the pitch and in the dressing room as quickly as possible - then translate that onto the pitch and get results.”
He went on to add that the diversity in the squad should only serve to strengthen their purpose this season.
“We have a good mix. There is a group of lads who have been here and know what the Club is about, and others who have been around and played a lot of Premier League football.
“There are young lads coming through who are full of ability, enthusiasm and excitement – they bring something different and lift the energy levels.
“And now we have some foreign players who are new to the league. You would like to think the guys who have been here a while, and know the league, will help the new lads coming in.
“It is about trying to marry the thing together, and that is the manager’s job.”
Baines’ winner proved to be an important one midweek as the Blues look to finally win their first trophy since the 1995 FA Cup success -
“That is the ultimate goal. It is what the manager has come here to do, to push us up a level.
“During my time here we have come close a few times: semi-finals and finals, and a couple of trips to Wembley, but we have just fallen at the final hurdle.
“It would mean a great deal to all of us. That is the objective as part of this project the manager has come and taken on with the new owner.
“They are the objectives we will work towards. We understand the task is tough and everybody else is spending money as well.
“We have a bit of gap to bridge but we are working on it and it is all positive.”
Here’s looking forward to another successful year for Baines as he marauds up and down the left flank, and some silverware for the Blues as well.