Martinez calm over Mirallas miss


Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists there is no issue with Kevin Mirallas missing a penalty which should have been taken by Leighton Baines.

Baines has missed just one of his 16 spot-kicks for the Toffees but allowed Mirallas to have the honour against West Brom and watched as the Belgium international hit the outside of the post a minute before half-time.

It was arguably Everton’s only chance in the goalless draw and a perfect opportunity to end a run of eight matches without a win but Martinez refused to apportion any blame.

“Kevin took the first penalty against West Ham in the (FA Cup) penalty shoot-out last Tuesday,” said the manager.

“Normally Leighton takes the penalties but we have a few players in the squad capable of taking them.

“Kevin has the quality and personality as an international footballer and is well capable of scoring penalties.

“Leighton was quite happy to let him take it because he felt confident and right in that moment.

“There is no big issue in that. It became an issue because he couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Team-mates Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku appeared to try to tell Mirallas to hand the ball over to Baines but he refused, prompting England assistant manager Gary Neville, summarising for Sky, to label his actions “despicable” for going against team orders.

But Martinez said that did not indicate disharmony within the squad.

“Not really. If Leighton Baines is the one who wants to take the penalty he will take it,” he added.

“He is the number one penalty-taker but if it has been the other way around and Leighton says no, the issue would be why Kevin was not allowed take the penalty.

“We are a team that is very together. I expect a few players to be able to take penalties and convert them.

“If you play this game 10 times it would be nine wins for us and one draw for West Brom. That is the moment we are in.”

The situation was compounded by MIrallas’ withdrawal at half-time but Martinez dismissed any conspiracy theories.

“When he gets into half-time and the body temperature changes he felt his hamstring was starting to give him a bit of a problem,” he said.

“He has been carrying a problem in that area and that is why he didn’t start against Manchester City and West Ham.

“He felt 100 per cent today but at half-time he felt that hamstring was starting to give him a bit of a problem and he wasn’t 100 per cent to start the second half.”

West Brom manager Tony Pulis made it three matches unbeaten since taking over earlier this month and they have yet to concede a goal under him.

“It was a resilient performance, the lads worked really hard,” said the Baggies boss, who revealed he will speak to chairman Jeremy Peace about whether to make an improved £4million bid for Wigan forward Callum McManaman.

“We had good shape at times. We have to be better on the ball and it doesn’t come overnight. The midfielders gave the ball away too cheaply at times and they are good players.

“We need to get good passes off to get us up the pitch. It was a fantastic effort, showing good resilience and I am really pleased.”

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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