Premier League • England

Benitez baffled at players’ same old story; claims Everton are doing ‘lots of good things’

Steve Pearson
Everton manager Rafael Benitez during their 2-1 defeat to Norwich

Rafael Benitez was at a loss to explain why his players keep making the “same mistakes”, though claimed Everton are heading in the right direction for the future.

Everton’s season sunk to a new low after falling to a humbling 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road. Norwich sat 20th coming into the game, and had scored just eight times in 20 league matches this season.

However, a quickfire double through a Michael Keane own goal and Adam Idah strike gave Everton a mountain to climb.

The Toffees hit back through Richarlison on the hour mark. But despite their best efforts, Everton could not find an equaliser as Dean Smith’s side held on in what could be a season-defining result for both clubs.

Speaking after the match (via the BBC), Benitez said: “It is really disappointing because we came here thinking about the win and it is a long journey for the fans who have come to support us.

“Everyone came here expecting us to win and we couldn’t. We conceded two goals through our own mistakes and that makes it a mountain to climb for us.

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“We have to stay professional, concentrate on the next training session and match.

“I am disappointed that we don’t learn and we keep making the same mistakes.”

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Benitez explains curious selection

Goalscorer Richarlison gave the visitors a ray of hope when notching just six minutes after coming on for Salomon Rondon from the bench.

Explaining why the Brazilian wasn’t selected to start, Benitez said: “Richarlison could not play the full 90 as he was coming back from injury. He only had one training session before this game.

“It is really disappointing because they are working so hard.”

Despite the defeat, the defiant Benitez claimed Everton’s future remains bright with the club’s transfer business in particular a positive sign.

The Toffees have revamped their full-back department this window, selling Lucas Digne for £25m and buying Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson for a similar price combined.

Benitez concluded: “We are doing lots of things that are good for the future, bringing in new players, but we need to be winning on the pitch.”

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