The lone talking point from Everton and West Bromwich Albion’s dull 0-0 draw has unquestionably proven to be Kevin Mirallas’s insistence that he, not regular Everton penalty take Leighton Baines, would take the side’s 44th-minute penalty (above video). Had Mirallas converted the spot kick, it’s probably brushed under the rug. But since the Belgian failed to score and the Toffees failed to find a goal, Mirallas’s actions are thrust into the spotlight.
As expected, manager Roberto Martinez was asked about the incident almost immediately in his post-game interview (below video), and the Spanish tactician did his best to side-step the issue and downplay any possible rift between his players and/or himself… or did he further fuel the fire?
[ FULL RECAP: Everton 0-0 West Brom ]
“[The penalty miss and the halftime substitution] were not related. Kevin Mirallas wanted to take the penalty, and Leighton Baines is the penalty taker, the number one penalty taker. He felt confident maybe because of the penalty shootout against West Ham in the FA Cup. He scored there and he felt that he was in a good moment to take it.
“Obviously [it is] the talking point is because we missed it. … The substitution at halftime is because I don’t think he was 100 percent. He’s been carrying an injury and he didn’t look 100 percent to come out for the second half.
“I think he felt at halftime his hamstring was getting extra sensitive, and it was a bit of a precaution. It would have been the same [decision],” said Martinez when asked whether he would have still substituted Mirallas at halftime had he converted the penalty.