Ronald Koeman has revealed that James McCarthy and Kevin Mirallas missed Everton's 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough after suffering hamstring and groin injuries respectively. The Irishman and Belgian picked up the knocks during the Blues' 6-3 victory over Bournemouth but Koeman quickly allayed fears about the severity of the injuries.
McCarthy has struggled with injuries throughout the season so far while Mirallas has managed to maintain a largely clean bill of health. Koeman says McCarthy will be available for Everton's clash with Sunderland on February 25 and is working on getting Mirallas back to full fitness before the clash with David Moyes's men.
"They weren't fit enough today," Koeman told Everton's official website. "James was struggling after last weekend and, with his history this season, we didn't take any risks. He will be available in two weeks. It's the same for Kevin who was struggling with his groin. We want to make sure he is 100 per cent for the next game."
Everton are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches but could only draw with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday. Romelu Lukaku and Ademola Lookman both missed chances to give Everton three points but the Blues did have Joel Robles to thank for keeping the scores level after the Spaniard produced a wonderful save to deny Rudy Gestede late on.
Koeman believes a draw was a fair result and praised Aitor Karanka's men for their defensive strength. The former Southampton boss also praised his side's backline; the Toffees have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last six matches.
"It was a fair result. The weather conditions were tough," Koeman added. "We know that it is difficult to create lots of chances against Middlesbrough and they showed today that they have really strong defensive organisation.
"We were the better team in the first half but Middlesbrough were the more dangerous team in the second. In the second half I think we controlled the possession a little too much instead of trying to do more to score a goal. But it is a clean sheet, a point and that is not bad. It is our fourth clean sheet from the last six games and that is positive."