Kevin Mirallas says a combination of Roberto Martinez’s tactics and his new-found self-belief is the reason why Evertonians are now starting to see the best of his ability.
The Belgian has thrived this season under Martinez’s management. He has featured in every single Premier League fixture this term, scoring five goals and providing just as many assists.
But it’s his form since the turn of the year which has made heads turn, culminating in his player of the month award for January.
The 26-year-old has netted three goals in his last five games – his most recent contribution being the wonderful free-kick to decide last Saturday’s game against Aston Villa.
Mirallas has been often utilised in a wide role since joining from Olympiakos in the summer 2012 but Martinez has repeatedly said he sees his number 11 as a player who is capable of playing in many positions.
This has been reflected in the Spaniard’s team selection in recent weeks when, in Ross Barkley’s absence, Mirallas was pushed infield and deployed in a central role.
The addition of Aiden McGeady and the return of Gerard Deulofeu will also provide further options for the Blues boss in the final third, which could mean more opportunities for Mirallas through the middle in what he labels as his ‘best’ position.
“I've changed my mentality and I think I'm more positive,” he told evertonfc.com “I'm playing in different positions and I think my best position is in behind the striker.
“There are a lot of players in the squad now who can play in my positions and I think that is good for me.
“We have Gerry, Aiden, Stevie, Ross, Ossie - we have lots of players. That is good for me because we have lots of competition but also it allows me to play in different positions.”
In his debut year at Goodison, Mirallas scooped the Club’s goal of the season award for his 60-yard dribble-and-finish against Stoke City.
He could find himself shortlisted again this time around following his two expertly-executed set-pieces in the last two home wins over Norwich City and Aston Villa.
Mirallas references these efforts as two more examples of his new ultra-positive approach on the pitch.
Mirallas added: “Before, I tried lots of free-kicks in training and had much success but in the match I didn't have the same confidence, I was perhaps unlucky, but I didn't shoot my free-kicks the same as in training.
“But after the New Year, I've told myself there is no reason why on the pitch my free-kicks can't be the same. Now it's good.
“I speak with Leighton and we'll discuss whether a position is better for him or for me. I think it's very good for Everton because we've got options on either side with free-kicks so we can always be a danger when we get free-kicks.
“We've got also sometimes Ross. It makes us dangerous because the goalkeeper doesn't know what we're going to do.”
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