Bilyaletdinov - Let's keep going
Everton winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov wants his side to pick up where they left off next season.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 26/06/10 8:10pm
Everton winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov wants his side to pick up where they left off at the start of next season.
The Russia international scored a late goal to give the Toffees victory on the final day of the season against Portsmouth, completing a 12-game unbeaten run for David Moyes' side in the Premier League.
Bilyaletdinov became a crucial member of the Everton team following his move from Lokomotiv Moscow in August for around £9million in what was an injury-plagued campaign for the Merseysiders.
The 25-year-old admitted that the second half to their season had been greatly improved after initially struggling, but also stated that his side could have done much better had there not been injuries to some of their key players.
"The second part of last season was really good for us, but the first half was not so good because of all the injuries we had," Bilyaletdinov said.
"That affected us. We played well in some games, but in others we didn't have enough players available to do as well as we normally would to take more points.
"Of course, the second part was much better than the first because we got some of our better players back from injury.
"Take Mikel Arteta for example. He is a central midfielder who helps us play well with his passing from the middle of the pitch.
"Our style of play was different in the second half of the season."
Bilyaletdinov also pointed out the jinx that saw Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who was in fine form at the time, sustain a long-term injury in February that left him out for the remainder of the season, just when creative playmaker Arteta had returned from his lengthy lay-off.
"We had our injury problems in the first half of the season, but also lost Fellaini in the second half to a bad injury," he added.
"He had been playing well before that. Hopefully we can get him and everyone back at once and show what we can do next season."