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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories – Rafa Benitez likes the attitude of his players and admits possession in football means nothing #EvertonFC

rafael benitez manager

Rafa Benitez believes his current Everton side has the mentality, fight and values Evertonians demand to see. Speaking on the support he has received so far this season, he admits shaping a team that represents the supporters’ values was one of his key priorities when he joined the club.

Rafa Benitez  said “I think the fans appreciate this team has the mentality every Evertonian expects. The Scousers, what they want is to see the players fighting on the pitch. The Evertonians were maybe missing that a little bit, and they were frustrated. Now they are happy because the team is doing that – giving everything every day and in every game. The fans appreciate that, the players appreciate the support of the fans – and then you have this communion. That gives the players the extra mile if they have to run the extra mile. Against United, I was really pleased to see the team coming to Old Trafford, not scared, and trying to win the game. I was happy with the way every single player was working for the team, the chances we had and the way we were defending, everything.”

Andros Townsend’s second-half equaliser earned Everton a deserved point against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Saturday afternoon. The Blues fell behind on the stroke of half-time when Anthony Martial scored for the first time since February. But Benitez’s side hit back 25 minutes from time when Townsend finished a fine counter-attacking move. Demarai Gray escaped the attentions of Fred and Aaron Wan-Bissaka before he found Abdoulaye Doucoure, who in return teed up Townsend to finish. And Benitez has explained the tactical thinking behind how he set his side up for the game.

Rafa Benitez  said “You can have a lot of possession in the middle of the pitch – that means nothing. You have to create chances and you have to be sure your team is competitive. We have some characteristics… we have players who give everything on the pitch. They compete, they can create chances and win games. Against United, it was a draw, but we were very close to winning the game. The way we played in the first half and the reaction in the second half means this team has the belief and a very good team spirit. We tried to practise this little bit. We try to manage, especially when you play against a top side, to understand the way you have to play the counter-attack. It’s important to have the right decisions in the final third. That is something we were missing in some games. We have to continue to encourage the players to go to the final third and try to score goals.”

Everton continued their impressive start to the new season on Saturday as they claimed a point after drawing 1-1 with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Benitez was confirmed as the new Everton boss at the end of June after the surprise departure of Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid at the beginning of that month. The 61-year-old arrived at Goodison Park with a wealth of experience having managed in Spain, Italy, England and China in the past. However, his appointment was arguably the most controversial in Merseyside football history due to his spell with Liverpool.

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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