Benitez cites key stat behind Leeds draw to give Everton fans perspective

Date published: Saturday 21st August 2021 6:24 - Dan Burnham

Rafa Benitez giving order to his players on the touchline during Leeds vs Everton

Everton boss Rafael Benitez was quick to put perspective on his side’s draw with Leeds United and was very pleased with several areas of their performance.

The Toffees had the unenviable task of being the first side to visit a packed out Elland Road since Leeds’ return to the Premier League. There was an electric atmosphere inside the ground but they coped with it well. After absorbing the inevitable early pressure, they made their mark on the game.

Just like last week, crosses into Dominic Calvert-Lewin were a key part of their game. And one of them earned a penalty after a lengthy VAR review.

The England international converted the spot kick. But Benitez’s side were made to go into the break level after Mateusz Klich equalised.

They took the lead once again after the restart when Demarai Gray fired in low from a tight angle. However, another Leeds leveller came when Raphinha struck from the edge of the box.

Both sides had chances to win it but didn’t take them, which Benitez reflected upon after the match.

“We could have won today, we fought for every ball and little-by-little we had more chances and more control in the game,” he told Match of the Day.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates against Leeds, August 2021

“But, we were also under pressure against a really good team so I’m really pleased with how we reacted and the commitment of the players.

“We’ve had 17 attempts away from home, some really clear chances. Overall we did well against a good team. Hopefully we can continuing improving.”

Time on his side, says Benitez

The draw builds on the three points the Toffees picked up in their opening win against Southampton at Goodison Park.

And their Spanish manager is very much viewing it as a point gained. He drew comparison to his Leeds counterpart to highlight it a positive result.

Benitez added: “Marcelo [Bielsa] has been working with his team for three years, we’ve had six weeks here so I’m expecting us to improve but I was really pleased.

“We were expecting the team to start well this season. This was always going to be a difficult game so I’m pleased with four points out of six.”

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