Football: Everton boss hails Barkley's 'big impact' after Sun row

Everton manager Ronald Koeman praised Ross Barkley for his role in a 3-1 Premier League win over Burnley at Goodison Park after the club banned The Sun tabloid for a highly derogatory column about the England midfielder.

Barkley found the target for a decisive second goal that broke open a 1-1 stalemate on Saturday, although his effort took a deflection off Burnley defenders Michael Keane and Ben Mee, with the latter credited with an own-goal.

However, at the end of a controversial week, which started with Barkley being assaulted in a nightclub in Everton's home city of Liverpool after last weekend's victory over champions Leicester, his on-field performance was appreciated by Koeman.

"I had no doubt about selecting Ross," said Koeman. "The best way to forget what happened last week was to play football.

"I think this is what happens in life. You learn from things that happen."

Dutch football great Koeman added: "I also did some stupid things myself when I was 19, 20, 21.

"If you learn from mistakes, things that happen, that is good. Everyone is human, everyone is coming into these kind of situations, but stay out of them."

Koeman's reference to "stupid things" was clearly a response to the nightclub incident, in which it was widely accepted that Barkley was the innocent party.

And he was certainly blameless in the issue of the newspaper article, written by Kelvin MacKenzie.

The controversial columnist compared Barkley, who is of mixed race, to a gorilla and the 70-year-old wrote that the only highly-paid people in Liverpool are footballers and drug dealers.

The journalist, and The Sun itself, have been vilified in Liverpool following its coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy 28 years ago and, after Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson weighed in on the issue, Everton followed the example of city rivals Liverpool by banning Britain's best-selling newspaper.

- 'Big impact' -

The timing of MacKenzie's Barkley article was all the more inflammatory given it was published on the eve of the 28th anniversary of the tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.

Barkley showed no ill-effects following the furore, however, although his wild celebrations following Everton's second goal earned him a booking from referee Mark Clattenburg.

"Of course I can understand because of what happened last week," said Koeman.

"I think he had a really big impact and for him I think he was focused on the football side the rest of the week, and also this afternoon."

Victory saw Everton record an eighth consecutive home league victory for the first time since 1990.

Romelu Lukaku, with the third goal, scored for the ninth straight home game -- the first Everton player to do so since the legendary Dixie Dean in 1934.

Everton had opened the scoring through defender Phil Jagielka before a rash challenge by goalkeeper Joel Robles on Sam Vokes led to a Burnley penalty which the striker himself converted.

"Ross was one of the team who didn't start well and who struggled a little bit to adapt to the way Burnley played," added Koeman. "They were a better team than us for 30 minutes.

"But after that you saw the Everton I like to see. It was really a good win."