DANNY MURPHY: Rafael Benitez may have seen off Marcel Brands at Everton, but his failure to win the fans over means that his own departure from Goodison Park is only a matter of time
- Rafael Benitez replaced Carlo Ancelotti as Everton manager back in July
- His appointment was not popular due to his previous links with Liverpool
- After a positive start, Everton have had a dreadful run of form in recent weeks
- This led to the club’s director of football Marcel Brands leaving the club
- Benitez remains for now, but Danny Murphy believes his days may be numbered
Rafa Benitez has won his battle with Marcel Brands for more control at Everton but I can’t see him winning the war and turning the club around.
The majority of supporters aren’t ‘having’ Rafa. The only way he can change that is to make them a top-six team or win a trophy and the current squad isn’t good enough to achieve that.
It’s mission impossible and — as with Steve Bruce at Newcastle —the question is when Everton move on from Rafa, rather than if.
Rafael Benitez has struggled to win the fans over since taking charge of Everton in the summer
I initially backed Rafa’s appointment. I thought his ruthlessness would tighten up Everton defensively. I also presumed, wrongly, that he would have been promised a treasure chest to improve the playing staff.
That’s clearly not the case because of FFP. Living away from Merseyside, I also underestimated the strength of feeling against him from fans who haven’t forgotten his ‘small club’ jibe.
Whenever results go wrong, that will be thrown at him and, despite the good win against Arsenal on Monday, the relationship between the fans and Rafa remains toxic. They continue to back their team, but not the manager or owners.
I actually feel a bit sorry for Rafa. He has to over-achieve to be accepted and that won’t happen with the current set of players, even when injured stars such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin return.
Rafa was briefly my manager at Liverpool and despite my departure from Anfield, I don’t mind a manager who is clear-minded and can ruffle feathers.
The fall-out with Lucas Digne isn’t in itself Rafa’s biggest concern at the moment but there is something in his make-up that causes friction with certain players.
Benitez appears to have fallen out with Lucas Digne (above), who did not feature on Monday
There were issues with Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres at Liverpool and Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid.
I know the rest of the Liverpool lads couldn’t believe it when he sold Alonso. It was a big mistake.
There is always a balance for a manager. You have to do things your way but also need to bring the players with you.
Rafa can point to his medals and tell us he found that balance but you don’t want to lose too many at Goodison, considering the lack of strength in depth within the squad.
Everton beat Arsenal on Monday, but Murphy still has doubts about the strength of the squad
The reality is that Everton as a club need to make changes in several departments but the most important one is on the playing side. They look unbalanced and short of quality, particularly when compared to the improvements being made at other, similar-sized clubs.
Owner Farhad Moshiri has given Benitez a clear vote of confidence to do things his way in the short-term but he won’t be able to turn water into wine.
Without investment, closing the gap to the top six is quite simply unattainable.
Monday night was good for Everton. The players put in a shift for their manager, a fans’ protest didn’t gather momentum and they got an encouraging comeback win. They were the positives but do I think it will work out in the end for Rafa? No.
I know how upset and annoyed Evertonians are at the moment. Rafa won’t be able to change their mindset with this team.
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