Rafael Benitez Under Pressure at Everton

    25 Oct 2021 | Premier League | Opinion
    Rafael Benitez Under Pressure at Everton
    Najmi Arif / Shutterstock.com

    There was always going to be a group of Everton fans who did not want Rafael Benítez at the club, regardless of any achievement he would bring to Goodison Park.

    Not only was Benítez a successful Liverpool manager, but he also made derogatory comments about Everton during his time at Anfield. The Spaniard called Everton ‘ a small club’ in 2007 when in charge of their local rivals and it is something the Everton fans will never forget.

    When speaking on Sky Sports in 2019, Benitez tried to explain the comment and said, "I made a mistake when I said it was a small club," he told MNF. "What I wanted to say was they are a small team because in this game I remember they had one chance.

    "Liverpool fans they were happy and the Evertonians were upset. But I didn't want to say they were a small club, I wanted to say they were a small team.

    "Some Evertonians they come to me and say about what I did for the city, we have the charity, and all these things, so I have a very good connection with the city, not just the Liverpool fans.”

    However, there are more pressing concerns for Evertonians right now. The results and the performance levels of the team under Benítez have been poor of late and the fan are not going to give a former Liverpool manager the benefit of any doubt. The display against West Ham United last weekend was hugely disappointing but it got even worse against Watford on Saturday.

    Everton were 2-1 up in the 63rd minute of the match at home against Watford, a team who lost 5-0 against Liverpool at home last weekend. A Benítez team would be expected to close out the match from that position with just over 25 minutes remaining.

    What happened can only be described as chaos and Everton conceded 4 goals in the space of 12 minutes to lose the game 5-2.

    The Toffees were poor for much of the match and it must be pointed out that they were without Yerry Mina, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, three key players.

    But even without those players, there can be no excuse for the level of performance across the 90 minutes.

    There were huge holes in the Everton defence when they were level at 2-2 and come the fifth goal of the game, it appeared as though the team had given up, which is unacceptable at any level.

    The fact Joshua King scored a hattrick, 3 more goals than he managed during his recent short spell at Everton rubbed salt into the wounds.

    The team against Watford was below strength but Everton fans are right to expect much more from the players who were on the pitch. When Anthony Gordon was substituted in the 60th minute, it led to an angry reaction from the Everton faithful and some of the crowd left when Watford scored their third goal.

    It was not a good sign for Benítez and he clearly has work to do in over to win over many fans in the weeks ahead.