Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be delighted with the way his side fought their way to a 2-1 win against Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Europa League tie last night.
Goals from Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku have given the Toffees something to defend looking ahead to the second leg, though Martinez will be frustrated slightly that his team conceded an away goal.
One player who quietly went about his business last night in impressive fashion was midfielder Gareth Barry. Barry produced the sort of performance which shows off his best qualities and controlled things well in the middle of the side.
Barry hasn’t always been at his best this season, but he is an experienced player who is capable of stepping up in tense situations. He’ll also be vital looking ahead to the away leg where the side is going to be under a lot of pressure.
The main frustration for fans is going to be why the side can’t produce the form they are showing in Europe, on a weekly stage in the Premier League. Everton do have a gap above the bottom three domestically, but they have been nowhere near their best this season.
The reason could be the higher quality and standard of opponents in the Premier League, who simply know more about the Toffees and have more experience over how Martinez likes his sides to play.
Everton are staring at a very important final part of the season and they need all of their experienced players to stand up and be counted. Barry is one of them, but he can’t be left to deal with the pressure in midfield by himself and will need to be supported by key players in other areas.
Here’s what Everton fans on Twitter had to say about Barry’s performance last night.
@Col_N_EFC thought Barry was really good but thought McCarthy was awful personally— Cal (@Gamble1878) March 12, 2015
Brilliant by everton tonight that. Naismith & Lukaku were boss. Jags & alcaraz were solid, even Barry was alright. #EvertonForTheCup— Josh (@Joshua_efc) March 12, 2015
Great effort by Lukaku, McCarthy, Jags, & Barry 2nd half #efc— Everton Forever (@Everton_4ever) March 12, 2015
We played there like teams have played against us all season. Need to see this intensity on the weekend and leave Barry for Europa only— Tony (@tony_efc) March 12, 2015
These will tear us apart here. Midfielders far too high leaving Barry and his drip the only one left when they get the ball. #EFC— David Downie (@daviddownie17) March 12, 2015
Jags and Barry looked more like themselves, Rom and McCarthy quality again #coyb— Alex Lewis (@AlexLewis_24) March 12, 2015