English Premiership

Martinez downplays penalty drama

2015-01-20 12:11
Kevin Mirallas (AP Photo)
Cape Town - Kevin Mirallas caused controversy on Monday when he elected to take a penalty ahead of regular spot-kick expert Leighton Baines, and subsequently missed, although Everton boss Roberto Martinez is not too fussed.

Arguably the Toffees' best chance in the stalemate against West Brom at Goodison Park came when Jolean Lescott handled the ball inside his own area to give the hosts a chance to take the lead from the spot. Left-back Leighton Baines usually deals with penalties, but Belgian forward Mirallas usurped him and took over himself.

Unfortunately for Everton, Mirallas was unable to find the target and the game remained goalless at half time, when the Belgian was replaced by Bryan Oviedo and the Merseysiders went on to make it six games without a win.

"The big disappointment is we couldn't convert the penalty, not who took it," Football411 quote Martinez as saying. "The issue is we haven't scored the penalty and it becomes a big talking point.

"He was feeling he could take the penalty and Leighton Baines was quite happy for him to do that. If he hits the back of the net, nothing would have happened."

Although Martinez admits that "obviously our penalty-taker is Leighton Baines", he says that there was nothing wrong with the Belgian pushing ahead in the queue if he "felt really confident and wanted to take it".

But the incident isn’t just controversial because the penalty was missed, as it was also the best chance of a difficult game when Everton needed the three points. They are currently 12th in the Premier League, but only four points above the relegation zone.

"The lads have worked very, very hard, but there are lots of things we need to improve," Martinez admitted.

Everton face an away trip to Crystal Palace in their next Premier League game on January 31, and Spanish tactician Martinez knows he will have plenty to do to reunite and inspire his side ahead of the tie.


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