Kevin Mirallas reveals shocking behind the scenes look at Everton under Koeman
Kevin Mirallas has revealed in a shock interview that he thinks Everton have become more like a business since he left rather than the family club at which he arrived.
A huge part of the winger's career and life was spent at Goodison Park and he's still technically a Blues player - having gone out on-loan to Fiorentina in the Serie A - though he attests that the Toffees are firmly behind him.
The 31-year-old made almost 130 appearances for Everton and was initially a fan-favourite, though that went downhill towards the latter stages of his career.
Speaking to Sport/Foot in Belgium via SportWitness , Mirallas explained what happened behind the scenes under Dutch manager Ronald Koeman, who, after a strong first season in charge, was sacked a couple of months into his second campaign.
He said: “During Ronald Koeman’s first year, I wasn’t sure whether to renew my contract. Did I really want to stay here or try something new? Seeing my son happy at school, my wife’s joy and knowing how good I felt at the club eventually led me to sign for an extra three years.
“The club had warned us, using Ross Barkley as an example, they’d sign new players only if we didn’t sign new contracts. Ross didn’t, I did. In the end, they signed David Klaassen to replace him, then two weeks later Gylfi Sigurdsson, another number 10, and then 3-4 wingers.
“We all looked at each other confused. The priority was to replace Romelu Lukaku, but that didn’t happen. The manager bought, bought and bought and we had six catastrophic months. They’re small details, but when I arrived, the club felt like a family. When I left, I felt like it became a business where they bought without really knowing what they were doing”.
Mirallas said he accepted that he would just have to work even harder to keep his starting place in the first-team after the new arrivals - eventually he convinced Koeman he should be starting.
That all changed, however, when he was dropped for the Europa League qualifier return leg against Ruzomberok.
The Belgian attacker said he went to see his manager to ask why but all he was told was that if he wasn't happy he should call his agent and leave.
Despite reassurances from the club’s chairman that the manager was just trying out different players, Mirallas still didn’t get picked, and once again went to see the Dutchman, who, on August 29th, repeated himself by telling Mirallas he didn’t have to give him an explanation and he could leave if he wasn’t happy.
Once Koeman was sacked and Sam Allardyce brought in things didn't improve for the Belgian. “For his first training session, he spends five minutes looking at the guys who didn’t play the game the day before. Then, he basically only plays English players.
“A few times, he picks me for the first-team before sending me to the stands on game day, which almost never happens in England.
“Sometimes, I found myself playing left-back in training. In December, Allardyce calls the six players to the U18s and tells us that we would all go to Cyprus to play the final Europa League game, which counted for nothing. Seriously? Six pros with U18s for an official game?”
That’s exactly what the then Everton player tried to do, only to be blocked by the club, who used his recent contract extension as an excuse.
He added: “I took a lot on the chin without realising. I could have easily turned down the new deal and earned more money elsewhere, but I didn’t want to leave Everton like a thief after all they’d given me”.