With Everton’s Europa League play off tie against Hajduk Split at Goodison on the horizon we managed to get to talk to Silvio from Hajduk Split News on his opinions about what Everton can expect and who to look out for.
Well Silvio first of tell us a bit more about Hadjuk Split and how they are doing currently this season?
We are doing fine. 6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss. Though, our only strong-ish opponents were Dinamo Zagreb and Brondby IF, and we’re 1-1-1 in those 3 games. We’re 13 Wins, 3 Draws and 2 Loss in our last 18 official games. We are doing better than in previous year. Or, less bad, if you want so.
People mostly agree it’s because of Spanish coach Carrillo (appointed in December last year), he really made some improvements in our play despite the higher management providing only a few new players.
It does not mean we are match to clubs in the EPL. We are only a bit better than before.
Everton themselves have a tie with your club. The Croatian players who have represented us, Nikica Jelavic and Slaven Bilic have both played for your club as well. Do you have any memories of the two of them at all?
Bilić is kind of a triple legend, as a Hajduk player, as a National Team player, and as a National Team coach. Jelavić is not of that status – we all remember him as a very good player, but he left club rather young, and made his name abroad.
Bilić is not much liked nowadays among many of Hajduk fans, including me. Because he’s in good relations with notorious Zdravko Mamić, much hated big boss of the Croatian football who has 1 trial and 2 more indictments for football related criminal
Despite not liking Bilić as a person, everyone admit he was a great player, and is very talented coach.
Do you watch the Premier League often then and more to the point Everton?
No sorry.It’s just a coincidence. I watch a lot of sports, but EPL is on premium cable in Croatia, and until recently I’ve had only basic cable.
From few months ago cheap bastard me has taken additional sports package, so I surely will watch a lot of EPL, inlcuding Everton too.
A man to keep an eye on? Young Nikola Vlašić is the danger man for Split
Is there any players we should be wary of that could cause Everton a few problems?
With Márkó Futács injured, 20 year old offensive midfielder Nikola Vlašić is going to be the biggest danger for Everton. He’s a good dribbler and a natural force. He moves ball forward, gains yards in a manner of a rugby player. He’s a future star. If he improves his shot and his decision making, then he might be even a superstar. One to look out for.
What do you make of Everton and their players?
Well, there is lot of newspapers articles on Everton since the draw. Also discussions on social networks.
But mostly we compare them with our players, and we say like: Gosh, they’re better than us technically, tactically, and most of all they will be physically dominant over Hajduk. We’re gonna need help and luck if we are to eliminate those beasts.
If you could have any Everton player join Hajduk Split who would it be?
It’s a difficult question. It’s like everyone except Cuco Martina and the guy that plays the number 9 position.
Sandro Ramirez? Why is that? And why Martina specifically?
We regard right back as the only weak Everton spot. As for Sandro it is not a con against him it is more pro Nikola Vlašić. What I mean is Sandro wouldn’t be big improve on Vlašić, while all other players would be medium, big or huge improvement.
Right I understand now, so who would you choose specifically?
If it’s not stupid way to go for Hajduk I would say it would be Gueye. Our midfielders are technically good, but except for Radošević they’re all soft, Gana is the kind of guy we desperately need.
Not Rooney, we actually have good strikers, relatively speaking for low level of Croatian league.
Finally how do you see the game going and what is your prediciton?
I see Hajduk playing very defensively in anticipation of physically dominant Everton players would stop our attacks early anyway. Playing on counterattacks.
I see Carrillo playing his usual game: narrow, both vertically and horizontally, to shut down any play in half-space. Defensive line stands high-ish, and 3 midfielders unusually close to them. He allows a lot of space on the flanks, daring opponent to play through there.
I see Everton having 3x more possession than Hajduk, and because of constant pressure Everton to have 3x more scoring opportunuties. And thus Everton likely scoring more goals than Hajduk.
Really doesn’t want to give exact prediction. If I say the result I hope for, I will come out as cocky. If I say something realistic, then I would look like a defeatist.
Thanks to Silvio for the chat, you can find Silvio at @HajdukSplitNews on Twitter.