Everton forward Steven Naismith has backed Leighton Baines after the defender missed his first ever Premier League penalty in the Toffees’ 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
Previous to the defeat, Baines had scored 14 times from the spot and many expected him to continue his extraordinary deadball form when United defender Luke Shaw brought down Tony Hibbert inside the area.
However, David De Gea – who made a string of incredible saves to preserve United’s tight margin – was equal to the Englishman’s poor shot as he batted it away out of danger.
Naismith, who scored the Toffees’ only goal of the game with his head after Baines’ brilliant cross, backed Baines to put the disappointment behind him and return to his best from the spot.
Speaking on Everton’s official website, he said: “Records are there to be stopped and unfortunately for Bainesy it was today.
“He’s an experienced boy who understands the game and is a leader in our dressing room. It’s not going to be a big distraction for him.”
Despite playing particularly well in the second half of yesterday’s game, Everton currently sit in 17th place in the Premier League table.
Cause for concern
Indeed, their defensive failures have been a source of concern since the start of the season, with both Jagielka and Sylvain Distin under-performing.
The Toffees have now conceded 16 goals in 7 games and will need to improve if they are to have any hope of getting near their brilliant 5th place finish last season.
Naismith, however, was certain that his side will improve after the international break.
“In every game this season we have shown, as an attacking force, we will cause problems to any team. It’s worked well for me – I’ve scored a few goals and been involved in a lot of the play which I’ve enjoyed. Long may that continue.”
Certainly, Naismith’s form has been a source of optimism for Everton as they look to cope without the injured Ross Barkley; the Scott has scored four goals in the current campaign.
Lack of concentration
“A lot of our problems have been individual errors or not concentrating well and that’s where we have lost a lot of our goals,” continued the player.
“But we have scored a lot too and that’s what we will take forward. We just need to work on another few things and the wins will start coming again.”
Everton’s next game is against Aston Villa a week on Saturday and manager Roberto Martinez will be hoping that his players return from the international break with a renewed sense of optimism.