The Everton board are discussing Rafael Benitez’s future this evening after the club’s 2-1 defeat at Norwich.
The Toffees have won just once in the Premier League since September and are 15th in the table – six points above the relegation zone – and Sky Sports News understand that Saturday night’s meeting is the latest in a series between the board and owner Farhad Moshiri.
Former Liverpool manager Benitez was appointed by Moshiri as Everton boss last summer but the Spaniard has failed to win over the Goodison Park faithful.
Everton fans displayed a banner calling for his exit during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Norwich. The same banner was also unfurled at their 3-2 FA Cup third-round win at Hull.
Everton have lost nine of their past 13 league games, including a 4-1 home defeat by Merseyside rivals Liverpool and a 5-2 home defeat against relegation strugglers Watford.
Benitez was asked whether he believed he would get more time from the owners after the Norwich defeat. He said: “I am a professional and I have enough experience.
“I came here to fix problems that is not just the last five months. Maybe we are talking about years. You try to fix these problems but you need time. The top scorer from last season is not playing half of the season so it’s more difficult. Now they are coming back hopefully we will be stronger.”
Keane: A dressing room lacking leaders
Sky Sports’ Roy Keane:
“Every time I see Everton over the past few months and I must be right, it doesn’t look like a good dressing room there. They’ve got some decent players who turn up every now and again, which is no good for a big club like Everton.
“Rafa Benitez will ultimately pay the price if they keep losing and he may go tonight, but I get the impression that something is missing in that dressing room whether that be the culture or the lack of characters and leaders at the club.
“I know Seamus Coleman and he’s a really good guy, but I get the impression that’s not a good dressing room. You can’t lose that many games, the manager will pay the price.”
Redknapp: The fans aren’t having Rafa
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:
“To a certain extent, it’s not all on Rafa what’s gone on at Everton, but he has a habit of causing chaos at clubs. He’s a politician and he’s always blaming everyone else.
“He puts this person against that person and he creates an atmosphere of the crowd against the board everywhere he goes.
“I’m convinced he’s doing it again there and I don’t see him lasting. Some people won’t like that fact we’re talking about a manager’s position but I see him being out tonight.
“He was never the right fit. You can’t keep losing matches. The fans aren’t having him. Football fans don’t mind who is in charge if they’re winning, but he has to go.
“Duncan Ferguson is there, he did a good job as interim last time, and he could come in while they look for the next manager. Some people talk about Wayne Rooney, and the job he’s doing at Derby is out of this world.
“This would be the greatest escape of all time. Whether he’s the right fit? I don’t know. But that’s the sort of options they’ll be looking at right now.”
Where does the blame lie at Everton?
Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:
It is a question that remains hard to pinpoint, but for many of those who made their longest away trip of the season headed back to Merseyside, it is clear where the buck stops. Everton are in freefall and this unhappy marriage with under-fire former Liverpool manager Benitez reached its nadir at Carrow Road.
This was the club’s first away defeat against a team starting the day bottom of the Premier League table since May 2004, having been unbeaten in 17 such occasions coming into the game. Benitez is running out of time and excuses. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was back in the side following his most recent relapse while Richarlison did have an impact off the bench, but the damage had already been done.
As has so often been the case during this miserable run of one win in 13 league games.
The 2-1 loss to Norwich continued an abysmal record for Everton of conceding the first goal in 16 of their 22 games in all competitions this season, including each of their last nine games.
Against the league’s bottom side, who had conceded the first goal in 16 games themselves this term, Benitez watched his players ship twice before they staged any form of response. For Evertonians, and for Benitez, it feels like Groundhog Day.
He may never be quite as irate as the club’s supporters at the current situation, but the players must also take accountability. After all, both of Norwich’s goals were of Everton’s own making, with Michael Keane’s own goal coming 92 seconds before Ben Godfrey’s poor pass contributed to Adam Idah making it two.
Everton have won just 19 points from their 19 league games this season – only twice previously have they had fewer at this stage of a Premier League campaign. Senior members of the squad must come forward and lead by example, but calls for Benitez to be relieved of his duties will now intensify.
Benitez’s record at Everton
P22 W7 D5 L10 F31 A39
Everton have conceded the first goal in 16 of their 22 games in all competitions this season, including each of their last 9 games.
Everton have won just 19 points from their 19 league games this season – only twice previously have they had fewer at this stage of a Premier League campaign (17 in 1997-98 and 2005-06).
What Benitez said after Norwich defeat
Can you get things right with more fit players?
Yes. I’ve said so many times yes because it’s a big difference when you see them come on the pitch. Richarlison scored the goal, Yerry was quite dominant in defence. The team changes a lot when you have your best players who have proved themselves.
The run you are on is a major concern and fans showed that?
Everybody has to be disappointed because we were coming here thinking it’s a game we must win, and we didn’t do it. We didn’t do it because we made our own mistakes and that is something we have to correct if we want to improve. We have two games in hand but if we don’t start winning games, it means nothing.
Do you feel under pressure?
I came here to fix problems that is not just the last five months. Maybe we are talking about years. You try to fix these problems but you need time. The top scorer from last season is not playing half of the season so it’s more difficult. Now they are coming back hopefully we will be stronger.
Will you get time from the board?
I am a professional trying to do my best.
Everton’s next fixtures
January 22: Aston Villa (H) – Premier League
February 5: Brentford (H) – FA Cup
February 8: Newcastle (A) – Premier League
February 12: Leeds (H) – Premier League
February 19: Southampton (A) – Premier League
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