Football

'No issue with Mirallas' miss'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists there is no disharmony within the squad despite an obvious disagreement over who should take a penalty against West Brom yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Kevin Mirallas stepped up ahead of regular spot-kick specialist Leighton Baines, who has missed just one of the 16 he has taken, but the Belgian's shot hit the outside of the post.

It was Everton's best, if not only chance, a minute before half-time and the misery was completed for Mirallas when he was substituted at the interval with what Martinez said was a problematic hamstring.

However, the sight of Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku appearing to try to tell Mirallas to hand the ball over to Baines did not look harmonious and England assistant coach and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville condemned the Belgian.

"What he's done there at 0-0, taking it off the major penalty-taker, which is what it looks like has happened, is a despicable breach of team spirit," Neville said. "To go against team orders, you do not do that."

DENIAL

But Martinez said there was no falling-out.

"Not really. If Leighton Baines is the one who wants to take the penalty, he will take it," Martinez said.

"He is the No. 1 penalty-taker but, if it had been the other way around and Leighton says 'no', the issue would be why Kevin was not allowed to take the penalty.

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

"Leighton was quite happy to let him take it because Kevin 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."

Martinez said Mirallas' hamstring became a problem during the break and that was why he could not continue.

"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," Martinez said.

"He has been carrying a problem and that is why he didn't start against Manchester City and West Ham.

"He felt 100 per cent 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." - PA Sport.