The key talking point of Monday night was not Sylvester Stallone’s appearance at Goodison Park to film crowd footage for his new film but Kevin Mirallas going above team orders and ignoring Leighton Baines’ role as penalty taker.
One of the most consistent penalty takers in the Premier league, Baines has taken three this season and scored two. His career record stands at 16 taken, 15 scored. The only spot-kick he has missed in his career was this season against Manchester United.
This morning the decision by the Belgium international has been met with incredulity by the media. Gary Neville was especially hard on Mirallas saying “(If he’s gone) against team orders… it’s one of the most despicable breaches of team spirit you can possibly have.”
Speaking on Sky’s Monday Night Football, Jaime Carragher agreed with his co-pundit suggesting that the decision will have created tension in the Everton dressing room.
“The fact that he misses makes it so much worse. What will be getting said in that dressing room now between the players," said the former Liverpool star.
The general consensus is that Mirallas’s decision was selfish, and with Everton sitting only four points above the relegation zone, a decision the Toffees can ill-afford.
Struggling for form, consistency and points it was not a risk that the club should take against a side organised for an away day by Tony Pulis.
Martinez used his post match conference to dowse the fire stating that Mirallas was removed because not due to the penalty but because he felt “his hamstring was getting sensitive. It was a precaution,” the Everton manager told BBC Radio 5 live.
As boos rang out for the homes at the final whistle yesterday, it appears that patience may be running curt with Mirallas who this week suspended contract negotiations with the club until the summer.