Maturing Mirallas's new lease on life at Everton

26 August  26 Comments  [Jump to last]

Kevin Mirallas has opened up about his hopes for the immediate future amid the atmosphere of exciting transition at Everton under what is effectively new ownership and new manager, Ronald Koeman.

In a revealing interview with Sky Sports ahead of this weekend's visit of Stoke City, the the 28-year-old describes the differences under Koeman compared to the last three years under Roberto Martinez and his determination to put the frustrations of last term behind him and make this his best season at Goodison Park thus far.

“It's all change at Everton,” he said. “When you come to the training ground you can see that it's all changed.

“The squad changed and [there's a new owner and] with the new manager, he's good because sometimes last season it was not very not so good. Now everything's changed and I hope with the change we win something.

“I think with the manager, he says, ‘OK, I want this and I want this and I want this,' because he has good ideas. It's good because now we have four wingers and six defenders so you have to keep fighting for your position.”

The current campaign is Mirallas's fifth at Goodison Park and while he has shown, at times, the kind of form that persuaded David Moyes to spend £6m on him in the summer of 2012, he has struggled for consistency because of injuries and a relationship with former boss Roberto Martinez that appeared at least to have fractured beyond repair by the end. (The former Toffees boss has called Mirallas up to his first Belgian squad, however.)

The former Olympiacos man's latest comments seem to reveal a more settled and mature player who realises he is running out of time to prove he is a top player capable of forming the bedrock of Everton's attack. Asked if he felt that this was a big year for him personally, he agreed.

“This is the most important season for me because last season was so bad for me. I missed out on the Euros with my national team. I didn't play a lot with Everton. I wasn't happy because I signed a new contract last season and I know the fans like me and I like the fans.

“But this season is so important because I want to score [the most] goals for the team. I'm 28 years old now. Before I used to play one or two games well but then after that I didn't play well. I need more consistency and if I change this, it will be good."

Faith from the manager

Based on the interview, there is a sense that Mirallas has now found the manager who can encourage and motivate him in the right way to fulfil his potential. He describes how Koeman is open with the players about who he wants to play where and which players aren't going to fit in, something the Belgian clearly respects in footballing terms.

“[The manager] told me after two or three days of pre-season that, ‘I believe in you. Last season was bad but in football sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad but if you train hard, you play hard and you start well in pre-season…' After that he continued to trust in me and gave me confidence. After the last game he came to me and he said, ‘you need to run more and be fighting more',” Mirallas explained.

“[In pre-season training] with Martinez there was more possession. With the new manager, your run more and the first week was so difficult but now the team is ready and fit and you saw against Tottenham and West Brom that we ran a lot and that is the difference.

“Ronald played for Barcelona and he likes to play football but sometimes the team needs to press a lot with direct football and you fight for the second ball and this is good. The team likes to fight and I think the fans like that as well. I think you saw against Tottenham lots of [our] players running for the ball and fighting for it. Me as well, even though I don't like to but if you want to play you need [to do] that.”

Watch the full interview  


Reader Comments (26)

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Jack Plant
1 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:05:39
Seems like all the right noises are coming out of the camp, albeit that was true at times last season, if our attack really can find the consistency Koeman seems to be pushing for they are going to be some force.
Lev Vellene
2 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:11:51
" ... [our] players running for the ball and fighting for it. Me as well, even though I don't like to but if you want to play you need [to do] that.”

Well, I hope Lukaku will also see the light!

Paul Conway
3 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:13:58
The arrival of Mr Koeman could be a great turnaround for KM. I was a number one critic of this player as he flattered to deceive so often, to the point where I got so frustrated with him I just wanted him to move on and make way for new blood. It might have seemed unfair, but he has had three or four seasons and it was the same 'ol same 'ol!

I think Mr K has the K factor. The ability to rejuvinate players who get bogged down in limbo and set them on a new path. He did the same at Southampton with Shane Long and made stars out of players he brought from the brink of obscurity to become household names.

I think we have more than a Manager With Mr K and I will look forward to the journey we have embarked on collectively as Evertonians!
Damian Wilde
4 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:14:16
Great player, good interview. Thanks goodness the bullshitter has gone.
Colin Glassar
5 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:17:53
I've never doubted this lads talent but sometimes his attitude has stunk the place out. I hope this really is a new beginning for him.

Bainsey is another one who has mentioned how much more professional it is now during training than it was with the Belgians.

Chris Gould
6 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:28:30
"Me as well, even though I don't like it."

Gotta love the honesty. A pro footballer who doesn't like running for the ball and fighting for it.

I've seen Barkley win more headers and tackles in the first 2 games than he did for the last 2 seasons. Koeman is making them do what everyone has been crying out for.

Kevin Rowlands
7 Posted 26/08/2016 at 23:42:28
Koeman, besides being a very good manager was, as everyone knows a top top player, that in itself must command an awful lot of respect.

Any one playing up or acting Billy big time all Ronnie has to do is say Oh yeh what the fuck have you ever won pal, here's my resume and what I won as a player, any questions, you think you know more than me? Now go sit in the corner there and shut the fuck up.
Matthew Williams
8 Posted 27/08/2016 at 00:23:28
Kev, I think you've nailed it!
Peter Gorman
10 Posted 27/08/2016 at 01:20:39
Lev, got to say I thought Lukaku ran about like a man possessed (well, relatively for him) against West Brom. He had a very good game if you put his God awful finishing to one side. Perhaps he also has been given a strongly-worded hint.
Anto Byrne
11 Posted 27/08/2016 at 05:03:59
Koeman has given KM a leadership role and he is relishing every minute. As the players came out of the tunnel he was high fiving applauding and back slapping with a might grin on his face.

Here is a player that you show you appreciate him and he repays you back in bucket loads. My favorite player at Everton helps as well lol.
Mick Davies
13 Posted 27/08/2016 at 06:20:40
He needs to watch his words now . . .his national team manager might take offence
David Chait
14 Posted 27/08/2016 at 06:27:20
I think he is our most talented player and with the right approach and headspace should be a starter every week.
Tony Draper
15 Posted 27/08/2016 at 07:32:03
Kev playing with a smile upon his face
Versus
Kev sitting with a scowl upon his face.
No contest.

Multiply this across the entire squad, across the 36 thousand season ticket holders, the countless thousands of "pay as we go" loyal fans and that's a shift of Atlantean proportions from the dismal, head shaking silence at the end of last season.

FFS I might just enjoy a game or two this season.
We could win a few at home.

I may even attempt to watch the managers pre & post match pressers without my medication. Well, let's see about the meds.

Les Martin
16 Posted 27/08/2016 at 08:53:20
I really hope Super Kev is lucky with no injuries as this could be his defining season for us. An honest assessment from him about himself and Ronald.

As for the running and fitness levels comments, I expect Lukaku to improve and improve his fitness. If he hangs around the 6 yard line as he did in the Euros and offers no movement, then he is going to get a kick up the backside. Improvement expected all-round I would say

Stan Schofield
17 Posted 27/08/2016 at 09:03:59
Kevin @7: Yes, RK commands respect. So far as we can see, there's no bullshit, and he's not a showman unlike some others. It was telling that only a few days after coming here, he was giving Kev a 'masterclass' on free kicks, a good sign of them working well together.

I'm trying not to overstate things at the moment, because it's early days, but RK has all the attributes of a great manager, technical know how, charisma, discipline, and organisation. Add in, as you say, his pedigree as a player, then you have a formidable combination.

They talk about the Klopp factor across the park. I believe the Koeman factor is more potent.

Rob Dolby
18 Posted 27/08/2016 at 09:15:15
The minimum required once your on the pitch is effort and desire; it's not rocket science. Martinez had taken us back so far that Koeman is looking like a disciplinarian. Under Martinez, only Jags ,McCarthy and Barry put the effort in week-in & week-out.

It's great seeing Kev and Ross graft as it helps the team out and can only improve our results.

Koeman was my 1st choice manager for what he achieved at Southampton, rebuilding a team in a short space of time and still improving results. It wasn't because he was a world class player, not many of those make it as top managers. Let's hope that he is the exception.

Ian Bennett
19 Posted 27/08/2016 at 10:18:52
Has the ability to get a double digit season goal return with the right attitude and fitness. Competition for places and a straight talking boss will give him the platform.

If he doesn't take it, then he will get bombed out I have no doubt.

Paul Hay
20 Posted 27/08/2016 at 10:30:37
Kev # 7 / Stan # 17

Perfect summary of the situation. Love it !

Mr Koeman arguably is the biggest draw that we have to entice players given that we cannot offer European football. His management skills together with what both he and his brother can offer on the training pitches are pivotal in the progress we make.
I do not expect wonders overnight and am prepared to be patient because all Kev and Stan pointed to in their posts justifies such.

Keep the faith.

Brent Stephens
22 Posted 27/08/2016 at 10:39:18
In the past I've not really been enthusiastic about Kevin being in the side. Not against but not enthusiastic. He always blew hot and cold. Only a couple of games in so far, but already I'm wanting to see him in the side. He really seems up for it and I just hope he can push on and get a good few goals.

What I have always liked about him is his directness in relation to the goal – always seems to want to get that shot in, something we held back from doing under Roberto.

Paul Pring
23 Posted 27/08/2016 at 10:50:03
So excited about the long term future but I feel that this season could be a real success because the players we have will have a point to prove, which should see a real upturn in results between now and May!

I've long been a fan of Mirallas because he has the ability and he can score goals, but like many his inconsistency has been more than frustrating.

This is a big opportunity for him to repay the faith of the fans and the management staff and become a really important player for us, but also a really reliable important player!

For the first time in a long time, I am genuinely excited every time we have a game coming up. After the disappointment of the last regime and the stagnation under Moyes, we suddenly find ourselves making huge strides forward.

When I was a kid I used to ask my Dad if I would ever see Everton win anything in my lifetime and he would say yes, I never believed him, but now just maybe there's a glimmer of hope that in the not too distant future we might taste glory again, if we do I'll probably cry like a baby haha.

John Malone
24 Posted 27/08/2016 at 12:23:22
"he likes you to run a lot, I don't like to do that but if you want to play you have to!"

Say no more, well done Kwoman!

Barry Jones
25 Posted 27/08/2016 at 12:32:23
I've always liked Mirallas. Not only is he talented and has an eye for goal, he is not scared to graft and put a shift in. He may say he doesn't like it, but it hasn't really been evident. His bookings and sendings off have been from over aggression.

Its obvious that RK has given the players a lift and they are all responding now. I can only imagine how crap the mentality must have been under that phony Martinez. Players are smart and they can see through BS pretty quickly.

When I saw his smiling face giving his first interview as Belgian manager it made me want to gag. Is there really justice in this world when an incompetent like him keeps getting top jobs with huge salaries?

Paul Mackie
26 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:12:07
It's clear that the players respect Koeman for what he achieved as a player. Maybe that's what we've been missing, a manager who's done it on the pitch themselves.

Love the bit about if you don't do the chasing then you don't play. Typical Dutch no nonsense attitude. Must be like a breath of fresh air at Finch Farm!

Ian Burns
27 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:00:10
That's Mirallas on the bench for the upcoming Belgium games then.
Lev Vellene
28 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:02:57
“Overall, it's a good start to the season but there's a lot to improve.” (From the EFC home page)

That's enough down-to-earth to satisfy me!

Jay Harris
29 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:05:44
Big Ron is our twelfth man.

The way he runs the rule over the game and manages it are first class.

And BTW his media statements are so refreshingly honest.

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