Kevin Mirallas accused of “despicable breach of team spirit” after taking penalty
The Everton winger missed first-half spot kick against West Brom on Monday night
January 20th, 2015
Everton’s woes continued on Monday evening after they were held to a goalless draw by West Brom although the result might have been different if the Toffees had converted a first-half spot kick.
Joleon Lescott was adjudged to handle in the area just before half-time, with everyone expecting Leighton Baines to take the spot kick and send Everton into the lead.
However, Kevin Mirallas went against team orders and the protests of Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku only to send the kick crashing against the post.
Gary Neville in the Sky Sports studio was far from impressed by Mirallas’ decision to take the penalty, with the ex-Manchester United defender expecting the Belgian to leave the club in the summer.
He said: “If he’s gone against team orders or manager’s orders and selfishly taken the ball, it’s one of the most despicable breaches of team spirit you can possibly have. You do not do that at any cost.
“It doesn’t get much worse. You can punch someone, you can go over the top and break someone’s leg, which is unnecessary, in a tackle, but to go against team orders in the dressing room is terrible. It’s one of the worst things you can do.”
Roberto Martinez attempted to play down the incident after the game, claiming that the biggest crime was actually making the spot kick although it’s hard to believe the Spaniard wasn’t seething in the dressing room.
“Kevin took the first penalty against West Ham in the penalty shootout last week,” said Martínez. “He felt confident, he has been flying and the West Ham game was probably his best for the club. Leighton is our No1 taker but he was quite happy to let Kevin take it because he felt confident.
“The issue is he missed it. If it had hit the back of the net nothing would have been said. If Leighton had said no and took it, and missed, then an issue would have been made of that as well. It was a key moment in the game but I’m not going to make a big issue out of it.”