Rafa Benitez breaks silence on Everton sacking and “magnitude of task” for next manager

Rafa Benitez has been sacked by Everton
(Image: PA)

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"We knew it wouldn't be easy, and that it was a big challenge, both emotionally and in terms of sport," Benitez wrote.

"My love for this city, for Merseyside and its people, made me accept this challenge, but it is only when you are inside that you realise the magnitude of the task.

"From the very first day, my staff and myself worked as we always do, with commitment and full dedication, we didn't only have to get results, but we also had to win over people's hearts.

"However, the financial situation and then the injuries that followed made things even harder.

"I am convinced that we would have been better once the injured players were back and with the arrival of the new signings. "

He continued: "The road to success isn't easy and sadly, nowadays in football there is a search for immediate results and there is always less and less patience; unfortunately circumstances have determined the result and it won't be possible to continue this project.

"In any case, thank you to the Board, to the staff, to the players, and to those fans who have supported us during this time.

"My best wishes for EFC."

Everton fans unfurled a banner protesting against Benitez during the defeat to Norwich
(Image: Nigel Keene/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

Benitez was an unpopular choice for the role given his links with Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool, whose fans chanted their former manager's name around Anfield during their clash with Brentford upon learning of his sacking.

He started well at Goodison Park, however, winning four of his first five matches charge as Everton went unbeaten in the opening stages of the campaign.

But the wheels began coming off for Benitez and Farhas Moshiri's project after Everton were beaten 5-2 at home to Watford at the end of October.

Everton collected just five points sicne with Benitez at the helm, and defeat to Norwich proved to be the final straw.

Derby boss Wayne Rooney is now being linked with the vacancy at Goodison Park

The club announced the news of Benitez's departure on their website with a brief statement, which read: "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."

Club legend Duncan Ferguson is expected to take charge on an interim basis and may have his own ambitions of taking on the job full-time, having had a successful caretaker spell in charge prior to Carlo Ancelotti's appointment.

Among the other names in the frame are Derby County boss and former Everton striker Wayne Rooney, who is doing a remarkable job at Pride Park and would be a welcome choice with fans.