Jags: Kev Can Kick On
Mirallas can use derby strike as a springboard, says skipper.
Phil Jagielka has backed Kevin Mirallas to weigh in with more goals now the Belgian has officially opened up his tally for the season.
Mirallas thought he had netted his first of the campaign in the 2-1 win over Hull City last month – only for the Premier League’s dubious goals panel to harshly award his strike to teammate Gareth Barry.
There was no doubt surrounding the winger’s equaliser in last weekend's Merseyside derby, however, as the 26-year-old pounced from close-range to make the score 1-1 in the first half.
This Saturday Mirallas is on the hunt for his second goal in as many games against Stoke, following his sensational effort in the corresponding fixture last season – a 60-yard dribble which won the game 1-0 and later scooped the Club’s Goal of the Season accolade.
And Jagielka says that Mirallas could again influence proceedings – especially if he is given licence to create in a central attacking position.
“Kev got a little bit lucky initially but after that it was a fantastic run through the pitch and a great finish,” Jagielka told evertontv when reminiscing about his colleague's winner back in March.
“Now that Kev has got his first goal of this season – somehow his other one wasn’t given to him – hopefully that will inspire him to get his goalscoring boots back.
“In the second half [last weekend], in his new role, I thought he did a great job and that’s when we were obviously taking the game to Liverpool.
“It's a bit more confidence for Kevin and hopefully he can score another one this time around.”
It took Mirallas’ wonderful winner to break down a resilient Potters side back in March, with Everton having to produce a workmanlike effort to see off Tony Pulis’ battling side.
Pulis departed in the summer and the 55-year-old’s replacement, Mark Hughes, has since made a steady start in the Britannia Stadium hotseat.
While Stoke made it four matches unbeaten with a 2-0 victory over struggling Sunderland six days ago, Goodison Park hosted a breathtaking end-to-end Merseyside derby.
Jagielka accepts that this Saturday’s contest may not be as easy on the eye and is predicting Stoke will travel to Merseyside looking to contain Everton's own new-era approach.
The skipper added: “We are playing more of a patient game and I’m sure Stoke won’t come into the match in quite the same way Liverpool did. It will be a different type of game.
“We need to make sure we stay patient and stick to the beliefs we have in the way we expect to create chances.
“It’s could be a difficult game for the players - and fans alike - but I’m sure that if we start playing some good stuff the fans will get us going and hopefully we can get the place rocking again with a few goals.”
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