Rafael Benitez is confident Everton will turn things around, as long as he is given the time to do so, after the stunning late win over Arsenal on Monday Night Football.
The club’s winless run came to an end in dramatic fashion as Demarai Gray’s stoppage-time strike secured a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Gunners at a raucous Goodison Park.
The visitors took the lead through Martin Odegaard’s volley at the end of the first half, moments after Richarlison had a goal disallowed for offside following a VAR check.
Richarlison had another goal ruled out by VAR just before the hour mark, before he drew the Toffees level with a 79th-minute header when Gray’s shot came back off the bar.
Gray then secured Everton’s first victory in nine league outings by sending an effort in off the post in the second minute of additional time.
The game ended with the crowd in delirium, having earlier seen some Everton fans leaving their seats in a protest over the running of the club.
Everton pulling together as one
And speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Benitez said: “It is clear, when the fans, the players, everybody sticks together we are stronger.
“The reaction of the team to the goals that were disallowed and conceding a goal at the end of the first half, we still scored goals and reacted. Every layer and fan is expecting that. Everybody is really pleased and hopefully it is the right step forward.
“When everybody sticks together we are stronger.” 💪
Rafa Benitez was pleased with his players, fans and staff as Everton produced a comeback to beat Arsenal at Goodison Park. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/AMYlsYXszN
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 6, 2021
“The VAR… I don’t know if the lines can be thicker or not? It was against us. I said a lot of times that we were close to winning a lot of times. Today was another example. Everything is against you but the character they showed today, with the fans behind, they can enjoy that.
“The fans were pleased because the players gave everything. They are strong mentality and ready to change things quickly.
“The fans are expecting commitment. You can talk about mistakes and we concede because we made mistakes against a good team. In terms of commitment the players are there and the fans appreciate that.
“They want to see a team that has spent a lot of money getting better and better. We will do it. It will take time but we will do it. Everybody now has the hope.”
Gray celebrates crazy moment
Toffees matchwinner Gray added: “It was a crazy moment. My best moment here so far. It was important for us to get that win.
“As a group we have gone through this bad patch but we have stuck together. With the fans like that, behind us for the whole game, it’s more than deserved.
“My confidence is high at the moment. I believe in myself and my ability. I’m working hard and improving and I want to be the best player I can be.
“We’ve had a rough patch and today I’m just happy we got the three points.”