Belfast Telegraph

Martinez moving on from penalty row

Everton boss Roberto Martinez claims the Kevin Mirallas penalty controversy has been consigned to history.

Mirallas missed a spot-kick in the Toffees' goalless Barclays Premier League draw at West Brom last week after making an apparently impromptu request to take over from regular penalty-taker Leighton Baines.

With Mirallas substituted soon after, a storm grew around the incident, adding to the pressure on Martinez amid a run of just one win in 13 games in all competitions.

But the Spaniard played down the matter on the night and insists no bridge-building between the Belgian winger and the rest of the squad has been necessary since.

Martinez said: "Obviously it is something that has been addressed internally and is water under the bridge.

"The only problem we had was that Kevin missed the penalty. That is the end of the matter internally.

"Sometimes you feel in a great moment and you want to take a penalty.

"It is not a negative having players that want to have the responsibility and show they can help the team in specific moments.

"The issue here is that he missed the penalty - nothing else."

The penalty miss came just before half-time in the clash at Goodison Park and Mirallas did not return for the second half due to a hamstring injury.

Martinez expects the 27-year-old to be available for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace and is also hopeful James McCarthy (hamstring), Darron Gibson (knee) and Sylvain Distin (groin) could be back in contention after recent injuries.

As they were not involved in the FA Cup last weekend, Everton have spent the week since the West Brom match at a warm-weather training camp in Qatar and Martinez has been pleased with players' progress.

Martinez, speaking at a press conference, said: "We are hoping Kevin is going to be joining the group between today and tomorrow. He is one of the players who has benefited massively from being away and being able to work. He feels a lot stronger and I do feel he has got a great opportunity to be involved in the squad against Crystal Palace.

"James McCarthy has been doing really well - he and Darron Gibson and Sylvain Distin have. They have joined the group, which is really positive.

"Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Tim Howard are still longer term but they are progressing well and got real good benefit of working away this week."

Everton's form has seen Martinez criticised by some supporters but he remains confident of their overall backing and feels all facets of the club remain united.

Martinez said: "I think we are all aware of the potential we have as a team and I think this season we have had huge expectations. I just see that when you really care about your team and you really care about what you can achieve you are going to get frustrated - when you don't win you cannot be happy.

"But at the same time there is a real support behind the players and a real understanding.

"There is always a feeling of getting ready for the next game and the next battle. I feel there is a real natural feeling about what we are going through. It is about making sure we use these situations to make us a stronger football club and the fans have been terrific."

Martinez has not ruled out making further additions to his squad before Monday's transfer deadline but claims it is unlikely.

He said: "In this window we are not looking to try to find solutions. All the work we did in the summer was to have a strong enough squad for all the competitions.

"Having said that, we will always try to use the windows in our favour and we will never stop trying to help the players we have at the club and being as strong as we can be."

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