Baines looking forward to break


Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Everton defender Leighton Baines admits the forthcoming warm-weather training break is a chance for players to generate a greater team spirit.

A dire goalless draw at home to West Brom extended the Toffees’ winless run to eight matches and the England left-back accepts the growing criticism may have led some players to look after themselves.

Cracks seemed to appear against the Baggies when Kevin Mirallas stepped up to take a penalty – traditionally the role of Baines with 15 successful conversions from 16 – and hit the post.

Forwards Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku tried to persuade the Belgium international he was making a mistake and after his failure Lukaku could be seen publicly questioning his international team-mate with manager Roberto Martinez on the touchline.

With no FA Cup action this weekend the squad are heading overseas for an intensive few days training and that break may now be more important than ever.

“It is like a mini pre-season in a way,” said Baines.

“We have been spending a lot of time together anyway but to go away is a nice change of scenery.

“Hopefully it gets a bit more spirit among the lads and keeps everyone together because when you are not winning games and there is a lot of criticism it is easy to look after yourself.

“We have to stay together and look after each other and hopefully this trip will be beneficial in all those ways.”

The players will be challenged in a number of areas while they are away, not least in terms of why they have fallen so far off the pace they set last season.

“It is similar to what we did last season. We’ll have some hard sessions in the morning and some tactical stuff in the afternoon,” he told evertontv.

“It is a chance to go away, take a step back and look at where we are going wrong because we are going wrong at the moment and it gives us more time together to put things right,

“The intention is to have more opportunity to put more work in and cover some more points that we need to address so hopefully it will be beneficial.”

Goodison Park has so often been Everton’s stronghold but this season they have taken just 14 points from 11 matches and the West Brom display was arguably the worst seen at home under Martinez.

Discontent is becoming more audible by the week but the Toffees boss could not say whether that was impacting on the players.

“It is difficult to answer that. We all share the same frustration,” he said.

“We want to win the game and perform well. The players had the perfect attitude and mindset that allowed us to control the game.

“You don’t see many games in the Premier League when the opposition has no shots on target.

“The second half we all got frustrated, the players to the crowd and vice-versa.”

The penalty furore took much of the focus away from another well-drilled West Brom performance which had all the hallmarks of new manager Tony Pulis.

Since he took over earlier this month they have not conceded a goal in three matches and the former Stoke and Crystal Palace boss is still unbeaten.

“As a group you can’t criticise them in any shape,” Pulis said. ” Everybody has bought into what we are trying to do. It takes time.

“This is a real struggle down at the bottom. There are so many good teams down there and I think it will go to the wire.”

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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