Premier League • England

Benitez given sack timeframe as Everton board sets sights on respected replacement

Rafa Benitez Everton

Everton manager Rafa Benitez has reportedly learnt just how long he has to save his job, as the club’s board set their sights on a potential replacement.

Benitez’s arrival on June 30 wasn’t exactly met with great pleasure from the Toffees faithful. The Spaniard is a Liverpool legend, having guided Everton’s rivals to the Champions League crown in 2005 and an FA Cup the following year.

Benitez also seemed to claim that Everton were a ‘small club’ during his time at Anfield, although he has since attempted to explain the jibe.

The Merseyside outfit started the campaign brightly, picking up 14 points from their first seven Premier League games. But Sunday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Brentford took their winless run to seven games in the competition. They are now 14th in the table and looking over their shoulder at the likes of Southampton, Watford and Leeds.

Sport Witness, citing reports in the Spanish press, provide a worrying update on the 61-year-old’s future. They write that he has just one more game to save his position – Wednesday evening’s derby against high-flying rivals Liverpool.

Should Everton pick up a surprise win at Goodison Park, then it would re-install some faith among the club’s board of directors and fans. However, another defeat would likely see Benitez receive the sack.

International boss in line to take over

Everton officials have one name in mind as they prepare for a new reign. Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand is the ‘main candidate’ to replace Benitez.

He has plenty of admirers following his country’s impressive Euro 2020 campaign. They overcame Wales and the Czech Republic before losing to England in the semi-finals.

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Hjulmand also gained plenty of respect for his handling of Christian Eriksen’s collapse. The attacking midfielder could re-join Ajax after getting an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted.

However, Everton may be left frustrated in their pursuit of Hjulmand. The 49-year-old has helped the Danes to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. As such, the Toffees would need to put an enticing offer on the table to prize him to the Premier League.

Benitez reacts to latest Everton defeat

Following the loss at the Brentford Community Stadium, Benitez told reporters: “We can understand the frustration of the fans but we are also frustrated.

“Today you cannot complain about the effort and intensity the players put in. They try until the end.

“We had a lot of crosses and shots, so you cannot complain about the effort. But you can be disappointed because obviously we do not want to lose.

“We didn’t deserve to lose but the reality is the team is giving everything on the pitch and you can see the togetherness of the players.”

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