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Everton kept the pressure up on fourth placed Arsenal with a convincing 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday, as David Moyes endured a miserable return to Merseyside in what would prove to be his last game as United boss. Goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas handed Roberto Martinez's side the win, but the Toffees manager admitted today that Mirallas will miss the rest of the season through a groin injury.
"Kevin's scans came back and they have revealed a small tear in his groin," Martinez said. "He is going to be out for the season which is a real disappointment and a shame because he was in a phenomenal moment of form."
"But the memory we have of his performance against Manchester United is a terrific image. The way he took his goal and how he dynamic force throughout the game – it was an outstanding performance. It’s a great way to finish the season if it’s the last game he is going to be involved in this campaign," he added.
The absence of Belgian international Mirallas is a big blow to Everton's hopes of breaking into the top four, and with games running out, the toffees desperately need Arsenal to slip up. Martinez's men are just one point behind the Gunners, and midfielder James McCarthy is still hoping that they can sneak into the Champions League places.
“It is a big incentive and we’ll give it our best shot,” he said. "We want to get three points on the board and keep up the pressure on Arsenal. We want to try to get European football back at Goodison Park. I think there’s still plenty of twists and turns to come and you never know. We’ll look after ourselves and see what it brings at the end of the season.”
McCarthy has been enjoying a superb season alongside Gareth Barry in the heart of the Everton midfield, but the experienced England international will return to Manchester City at the end of his loan deal this summer, which will mean McCarthy will have a new midfield partner.
That could be Manchester United's Tom Cleverley, who has been the subject of intense criticism this season. The 24-year-old has turned in a number of disappointing displays this season, but after working with Martinez at Wigan Athletic in 2010 during a season-long loan spell, the Everton boss has been linked with a £6m swoop.