Premier League • England

‘I want people to realise’ – Benitez rejects big Everton claim in pressure statement

Rafa Benitez Everton

Everton manager Rafael Benitez has insisted that he still believes he and his players can turn the situation at the club around.

The Toffees started the season well with four wins and a draw from five Premier League games. Since then, though, they have endured some of the worst form in the top flight.

Indeed, they have only won one game since the middle of September. That came against Norwich, who are battling relegation.

Liverpool inflicted more misery on Everton with Wednesday’s 4-1 win. The result came as their third loss in a row and extended their winless run to eight.

However, the latest defeat to the Reds piled more pressure on Benitez, as it was the Merseyside derby.

Still, Benitez said in his latest press conference: “Every win is a must-win game. Why am I still positive? Because we did it at the beginning.

“You can’t be a bad or good manager in one week. If the team was really good, signed two wingers, made crosses – we cannot be wrong in everything after six weeks.”

Benitez added on Wednesday’s result: “We are disappointed, really disappointed. It’s a derby, it’s more emotional, but we’re really disappointed in the way things are going on.

Paddy Kenny thinks an Everton move for Donny Van De Beek makes sense

Former Premier League goalkeeper Paddy Kenny feels Everton should once again attempt to sign Donny Van De Beek from Manchester United.

“We were running more than Liverpool in every department, but we conceded four goals. They punished our mistakes.”

As for where Everton can turn to next, Monday’s clash at home to Arsenal does not make life any easier. Longer-term, though, the January transfer window presents an opportunity to change things.

Top 10 Ralf Rangnick signings! Could he bring some of them to Man Utd?

Everton have had a poor record in the window, often paying expensive fees for players who have not matched their price tags.

Benitez was therefore shrewd with his dealings in the summer. After signing wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend for little money, he insisted that injuries have also cost his side.

Benitez makes defiant Everton statement

Rafa Benitez bellowing from the Everton touchline

“I said before, I try to concentrate on my job,” he said amid the pressure facing him.

“Everybody knows that money has been spent, but at the moment we have to be sure we improve these players.

“I talk about injuries because I want people to realise we were doing well with the same group at the beginning.”

Midfielder Adboulaye Doucoure is only just getting his rhythm back after returning. However, key striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and defender Yerry Mina remain out.

Forward Salomon Rondon also suffered injury against Liverpool. Calvert-Lewin requires a “couple of weeks minimum” before he can return.

Benitez added: “Yerry Mina has today done part of the training session and is getting closer. We are still assessing Rondon. We need to wait for the scan to see how he’s doing.”

Everton beat Arsenal 1-0 in their last meeting in April, at the Emirates Stadium. They also beat the Gunners 2-1 in the last clash at Goodison Park.