Thursday 27 October 2016

Roberto Martinez would not welcome bids for Kevin Mirallas during January window

Published 05/01/2016 | 14:41

Kevin Mirallas still has a big role to play at Everton, according to manager Roberto Martinez
Kevin Mirallas still has a big role to play at Everton, according to manager Roberto Martinez

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists he would not welcome bids for Kevin Mirallas during the January transfer window and expects him to play a big role this season.

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The Belgium international made his first Premier League start since the opening day of the season against Newcastle on Boxing Day.

He has since returned to the sidelines and Monaco are the latest team to be linked with a move for the 28-year-old, who signed a new three-year deal in the summer.

Martinez admits his squad is too big and players like Steven Naismith, who is interesting Norwich, may be allowed to leave this month.

But, asked if an approach for Mirallas would be welcomed, the Toffees boss said: " No, not at all.

"Kevin signed a new contract in the summer. He had a really strong pre-season. We allow football to make decisions. We've got really good attacking options and Kevin was unfortunate.

"He started the first game against Watford and from there he had a little injury, he got a three-game suspension, but the way he's been working in the last few weeks earned him a start against Newcastle and he did really well.

"I expect Kevin to have a major influence in the second half of the season."

Martinez has been reluctant to lose players too early in the window because of Everton's hectic fixture list.

They play the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Goodison Park on Wednesday before an FA Cup third-round clash with Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.

Home wins have been hard to come by for Everton this season - just three in the league - and the atmosphere during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham was largely one of frustration.

They have won only two of their last eight matches, both away, but Martinez has no doubt the fans are still with his team.

He urged patience to allow his young side to fulfil its potential, saying: " I think the fans are sharing the same frustration that we share.

"We know that we showed great signs this season but we need to be patient. The performances have been very consistent and probably that's where the frustration comes.

"But we all need to learn as a football club that we've got a special group of players and we have to help them.

"I don't think we've lost the fans. I think the fans see a fully committed team that give everything with incredible character and personality.

"Any time we get a blow, we always react, we always fight until the end. Some of the attacking football this season has been outstanding.

"Away from home we've conceded nine goals, but we've conceded 20 at Goodison, and clearly that's costing us a lot of points.

"We want to work hard to correct that. We need the understanding of our fans to make sure we make a top team into a winning team."

Wednesday's game is a hard one to predict because City's away form has been as shaky as Everton's at home.

Martinez insisted he would have preferred the legs to be the other way around, saying: " When you've got a two-legged affair, you want the second leg at home.

"I know Goodison will be rocking and what we're going to see tomorrow will be special. I think the League Cup has been a phenomenal competition for us. We've seen the home and away support helping the team to get through.

"I feel that playing at home, Goodison at its very intimidating best, we can face anyone and we're looking forward to replicating the level of our performance against Spurs."

Goalkeeper Joel Robles will play, as he has throughout the competition, but captain Phil Jagielka is likely to make his return from injury at the weekend.

Press Association

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