20 Jan 2015

Everton manager Roberto Martínez plays down Kevin Mirallas penalty controversy

Everton manager Roberto Martinez denied that Kevin Mirallas was substituted for his role in the Toffees missing a penalty in their 0-0 draw with West Brom at Goodison Park.

In a tight game of few chances, the Belgian kept the ball from regular penalty-taker Leighton Baines when former Everton defender Joleon Lescott was penalised for handball but knocked his effort from 12 yards off the post and wide.

When Mirallas then failed to reappear after the half-time break leading to speculation that he was withdrawn for disobeying team orders but Martinez denied that was the case.
“Our penalty taker is Leighton Baines but in the same way we had a penalty-shoot out against West Ham in the FA Cup, Kevin Mirallas took the penalty really well and wanted to take it,” he told Sky Sports. “He wanted to take the penalty and Leighton was happy to let him do that.

“Nothing else apart from it was an unfortunate kick, missing the target. Both players have enough quality, personality and character to convert at that moment.

“At that moment Kevin felt really confident and wanted to take it. For me, Leighton is the number one penalty taker. At that point I would have been happy for the two players to discuss it. There are a few penalty takers in the squad and they could have stepped up in that moment, the big disappointment is we missed the penalty, not who took it.

“He [Mirallas] was not feeling 100%, he felt his hamstring straight after the penalty. That was the reason for the substitution.”
Credit: Cian O'Callaghan/SetantaSport

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