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Everton at West Ham United: Pre-match Quotes

Roberto Martinez sat down with the media ahead of the Blues’ final trip to Upton Park

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Yesterday the gaffer previewed a difficult away trip to the capital, but Kevin Mirallas’ future seemed to be the focus.

When asked about the Belgian’s reported frustration at lack of minutes so far this season and how that might affect his future at Everton, the manager said;

"It couldn't be further from the truth. Kevin has been a very important player while I've been at the football club.

"The start of the season has been challenging for him individually as he's had a couple of niggles, a couple of injuries. Then he had the sending off, so he wasn't available for three games."

The Spaniard also had to deny a rift between himself and his playmaker.

"The way he's been working in training has been very impressive," added Martinez.

"I think he's improved as a footballer and it's important for us that Kevin is fresher now going into the second half of the season, and we'll get the benefit of that.

"Kevin Mirallas is a very important player for Everton, he knows that, and all he wants now is to get important playing time, because the start of the season has been quite frustrating for him."

When asked about tomorrow’s hosts and their start to the season, Martinez said;

"We see West Ham as one of the best teams of the campaign in the early months. They have surprised teams."

"The biggest strength of this West Ham side is that they play with an incredible belief. It is going to be a terrific challenge."

But the boss appeared to want to focus on his own team more;

"In the last three seasons, we have developed a really good understanding of the way we want to work. We have confidence in each other."

"From our point of view we want to push ourselves to get better [than last week]. Our attacking play is very strong - scoring six against anyone is tough."

In terms of team news for tomorrow’s fixture, Roberto confirmed that Leighton Baines, Muhamed Besic and Tom Cleverley are all training fully with the rest of the squad but he also said that the trio will not be rushed back.

The manager went on to say that Bryan Oviedo could miss up to three weeks of action but the hope is he will be fit for Aston Villa game.

Back to Leighton Baines and the Everton manager revealed that the international break will give an opportunity for a behind-closed-doors friendly for the attacking full-back to step up his recovery.

"We have a got a game that will be behind closed doors in the international break and Leighton will be playing a part in that.

"He needs to have that confidence when making blocks and the contact you can get in a football game.

"You only get that by those sorts of exercises because training isn't good enough in order to test yourself, so we will do that behind closed doors.

"That's why I feel the international break is going to be a really important period to get that."