Everton have confirmed the exit of Rafael Benitez as their manager with immediate effect, just under seven months after his controversial appointment.
Eyebrows were raised when Everton offered the job to Benitez in the summer. He replaced Carlo Ancelotti, who returned to Real Madrid. Benitez’s former association with Everton’s rivals Liverpool made him an unpopular choice.
Although he made a decent start to time on the touchline at Goodison Park, things quickly took a turn for the worse.
Everton have won just one of their 13 Premier League matches since the beginning of October. Their only other win in that time was in the FA Cup third round; they needed extra time to see off Championship side Hull City.
The pressure had been building on Benitez for a while. The final straw came with a 2-1 defeat at Norwich City on Saturday. They became just the third side to lose to the Canaries in the league this season as a result.
Reports followed on Saturday that Everton were ready to part company with Benitez. Now, they have confirmed the decision.
Everton statement confirms Benitez exit
A short statement on Everton’s official website revealed: “Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as First Team manager.
“Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the Club with immediate effect.
“An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”
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From 22 matches in charge of the club, Benitez picked up seven wins, four draws and 11 defeats.
He leaves the club 16th in the Premier League table, six points above the relegation zone.
Reports have named Wayne Rooney, Duncan Ferguson, Frank Lampard, Graham Potter and Nuno Espirito Santo as possible successors to Benitez.
Whoever comes in will have their work cut out to reverse their downturn in form. Even with players returning from injury, like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and January signings such as Vitaliy Mykolenko, Nathan Patterson and Anwar El Ghazi arriving, Everton have not given Benitez any time to change things.
Now, the responsibility will fall to someone else.