Rafael Benitez admitted that his team conceded some poor goals in their final pre-season friendly on Saturday and that the team has to improve once some of its missing components return.
The Blues won both of their exhibition games in Florida at the end of last month but went down 4-0 at Manchester United, leaving the manager with plenty to ponder as the kick-off to the 2021-22 Premier League season against Southampton looms this coming weekend.
Benitez was without Richarlison, whose busy summer concluded with glory with Brazil in the gold-medal match at the Tokyo Olympics and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who had a slight knock that sidelined him for the match at Old Trafford.
The manager says that having has strikers back will help but broader improvement across the team will be needed.
Article continues below video content
“Today, we didn't have our strikers, the others did their jobs but it is totally different when we have specific players, especially good players, up front,” Benitez said on evertontv. “They are not here, so that changed the dynamic of the team a little bit.
“We have to improve in some areas but the main thing is to be sure we have the team together, then we can manage the way we want to play, with the players who can normally make the difference.
“We want to play like we did in the [earlier pre-season] games — trying to create chances, trying to move forward quickly. I think as a team we have to improve.
“Not just a couple of players. As a team we have to be sure that the understanding between players, the mentality, the character is there — and then if we have that, we can be more competitive.
“Normally, when you have time, you can know the players and they know you and how you want to play. This pre-season has been a little bit [different], with players away, with the Olympics, the Copa America and the Euros.
“There are too many things to analyse everything properly but at least these games give you an idea what to expect… of what we have to change.
“You have to learn and try to improve things for the next game, which is the most important one.”
Reader Comments (88)
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2 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:12:37
The lack of goalscoring ability throughout the side is alarming and needs to be addressed if we are ever to return to the top.
3 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:14:55
4 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:23:16
5 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:23:22
6 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:24:08
7 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:29:17
Well do well this year. 6/1 to win without the “big 6”. Worth a few quid?
8 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:31:20
9 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:37:26
10 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:42:07
11 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:52:36
Trying to improve what we have into a better team sent the Italian scampering off to Real Madrid and has cost the jobs of 4 previous managers.
I'm not sure I expect him to make noticeable improvement within 4 weeks of being appointed. Let's see how he gets on this season.
12 Posted 09/08/2021 at 16:58:29
Yeah. Those components would be a defence, a midfield and an attack.
13 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:07:32
For the same reason he can't buy a new right back, a decent winger, or a replacement for Sigurdsson.
We have Brazil's number nine, a player coveted by Real Madrid and Utd. We have England's understudy number nine and we have Kean one of the most highly rated young forwards. We are not "short" of strikers, they just weren't available/risked for a meaningless preseason friendly.
14 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:10:58
15 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:12:16
Which players turn is it to trot out the usual rubbish about ''how we need to improve''? boring!
16 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:20:27
17 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:22:22
18 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:25:53
19 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:30:39
One thing is certain, our recruitment of managers and players (Sigurdsson, Bolasie, Walcott, Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Tosun, Gomes, Delph, that bloke who went to Germany etc) has certainly dropped us in the sh!t.
20 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:34:32
Thankfully, the man has been here before. He ignored the Chelsea "expert" fans, shrugged off the hostility, focussed on the job and won a trophy. He's made of thick skin and although not my choice has proven that again by taking the Everton job.
Once again, difficult to judge from a picture, but very hands on in terms of coaching? Where are his coaches?
I for one am looking forward to Saturday. It may cost me a forecasted £250 - £300 all in as usual, but I get to see Everton, be in my home city for a few hours and meet up with family.
And have chips, peas and onion gravy from the Goodison Supper Bar!!
21 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:44:13
22 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:47:19
23 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:48:11
I think that pre-game it will be fine, not the usual full-throated crowd, but I don't think there will be a chorus of boos either. During the game, depending upon how it's going, may see a more vociferous group start some anti-Rafa stuff, but most will likely sit on their hands if it's going badly.
Whatever happens, enjoy the day Danny, you can discuss the match with the dogs on Sunday.
24 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:49:00
Yes he did win a trophy with Chelsea but even that didnt persuade the majority to change their mind about him and he was sacked soon after that season finished. I think we might get off to a good start against Southampton who have lost Ings and might not have Ward Prowse for that game if Villa get their way.
25 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:50:57
Who bought Awobi?
Who brought in Delph, sick note.
James Rod is quality, but played 23 games and was crap in half of those.Sick Note.
Gbamin feel so sorry for his injuries terrible luck.
We got £150 million of center forward possibly out.
A decent player in many games £41million unavailable for we don't know how long.
Gomes??whos going to take a chance on him after a horrific injury.
We just gotta get on with it.Can feel sorry for ourselves.
Rafa wont iam sure.
Some how we gotta get a minimum of 4 points first two games.
Just don't think the club can sort things out until x mas.
Cant spend, knowbody wants to buy.
Well we could put Pickford up for sale?????,Richarlison?
Just behind the side Rafa.
26 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:51:05
I'm just hoping that the return of fans will improve our home form because our away form will certainly be worse this season when we revert to rabbits-in-headlights at away grounds.
27 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:51:49
Well have a purple patch and awful ones too.
28 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:52:02
It was a shit show first half but even with our makeshift team we created chances we should have scored from and we had a certain penalty waived away. I thought Gray looks promising, direct and very pacey. Hes going to give us something weve been lacking and stretch defences. I think he will prove to be one of the best signings of the summer.
So its not all doom and gloom, with players back we can look very different on Saturday and get off to a good, winning start. Im apprehensive but looking forward to Saturday.
29 Posted 09/08/2021 at 17:52:55
He deserves a chance in my book. The usual for me, 4 or 5 games on the bounce defeated then the pressure is on. Works both ways though. The reverse and he deserves plaudits.
30 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:05:17
31 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:09:47
32 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:14:06
What improvements? They havent played anyone yet. A Palace reject, and a player that couldnt cut it in the Leicester team. If thats an improvement, Im glad we aint going downhill on our signings. Plus what other signings? We aint got the money to improve our starting eleven from last season. And watching our only game against a decent opposition on Saturday, we were taken apart.
33 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:15:36
I don't know what the guy is supposed to say here. We're great, will finish 6th, qualify for Europe and get to Wembley.
No. Sorry, I'm quoting idiots like me who are just getting excited about Saturday!
He is stating the obivious. I wouldn't say in a play down expectation Moyes kind of way, but just being realistic. I think what he is saying is this bunch of players can and need to perform better. On paper, it's not a bad team.
34 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:22:24
Fingers crossed this doesn't turn sour
35 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:23:54
36 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:31:43
37 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:37:14
For where we are now (challenging for Europe), a midfield consisting of options such as Davies, Gomes, Gbamin, Allan, Doucoure, and Gueye competing for 2 or 3 places wouldn't be too bad.
Not including the wider, more forward players there.
38 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:46:03
This is what he actually said off the record.
39 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:53:13
Bullens tempers my enthusiasm. I've obviously lost touch with all this Covid, but that seems a bit steep. I'm sure I paid a fair bit less last time.
40 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:56:55
41 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:07:38
42 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:09:53
43 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:22:34
Player wages drive cost. If we pay them more, the clubs charge more. Basic economics; wages drive up prices. We all want a wage increase, but it ultimately causes prices to go up. Its all relative.
This probably belongs on another thread I read today, but it's sadly why Everton have fell behind. I will be at Goodison on Saturday. I will go to the Goodison Supper Bar before the match and maybe buy a half time pint in the ground. But then I will meet my cousins on County Road and head into town.
Aside from the £50 ticket (I'm in the Upper Bullens) and the fiver I spend in the stadium, how much match day revenue are Everton making from the match going supporter?
Compare that to the day trippers who follow our red cousins. Coach trips and day trips from Oslo who descend on the club shop to spend a fortune. And Tottenham's model. I had insight into that in my previous role. They designed the stadium to change the match day experience. They have bars and restaurants all around the concourse with the aim being supporters go there prior to kick off and remain after the final whistle rather than hitting local pubs and chip shops. Harsh reality, but we are miles behind. Maybe BMD is designed with that model in mind.
Everton will get £55 of my £300 expenditure on Saturday. Other clubs such as Tottenham would get more of that £300. I would imagine tourist fans visiting Old Trafford would put even more in the Manchester United coffers than that.
I appreciate television revenue is what matters now, but we are still a fan base that goes the match and goes home or to the local. Our match day expenditure doesn't go into the club. Our match day revenue is poor.
Not a criticism by the way. We are very traditional, which a lot of us still love and cherish. Just a reality whether we like it or not.
44 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:37:46
Hi Danny  regarding the Rafa Benitez appointment, does the phrase 'Innocent until found guilty' come to mind?
45 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:43:34
At least give him some months. Then if it it not going acceptable, which for me is anything that keeps us well clear of relegation, the inevitable will happen.
46 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:45:41
47 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:56:27
48 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:01:35
49 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:05:21
On paper (big if I know) we actually have a very decent first XI, bench is then light and squad depth has been an issue for years. With all our players back and fit, we can match most teams if the players actually put a shift in collectively. Townsend and Grey give us a couple more attacking players to add to Richie so give us more options going forward. Not going to set the world on fire but hardworking and with pace and better than the likes of Iwobi.
Winning puts smiles on everyone so with S'ton, Leeds and BHA first three games, we've got a really good chance to get some points on the board early. With fans in the stadium I certainly expect us to get a result at home against S'ton, especially with no Ings in the side. Then take it one game at a time.
Won't be too many tears to see Iwobi gone - another £40m odd down the pisser, all in. Can't see Atalanta paying that much if he does go there.
50 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:07:52
51 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:12:33
Yeah I heard about the "abuse" he received at OT, but 5-6 different people have told me it was 1-2 people singing "Your getting sacked in the morning" The general perception being, it was just a couple of wags having a chuckle.
Rafa will face trial by Goodison. Thats inevitable, but the crowd will give him a fair crack before they give their verdict
The forums will not be as patient. If he follows Ancelotti's pattern of trying to spoil games he will get it from the get go and I for one will be front and center, but If he shows signs of intent and looks to attack and win games he will be afforded more time.
Most Evertonians know he is up against. He has inherited a total shit show, but if he can make a go of it. His past links to Liverpool will be forgotten as quickly as was when Sheedy, Harper and Beardsley won the crowd over.
Ditch the zombie stuff we have been served up for five years. Get the players attacking with intent and passion and any thoughts of a toxic atmosphere will evaporate.
52 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:12:50
53 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:19:12
Everyone knows we can't afford marquee signings and we are still lumbered with expensive dross until their contracts expire, so let's not get our hopes up too much and get behind the team while they struggle to their customary mid-table end of season. There are plenty worse clubs out there, things could be worse.
54 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:33:55
Taking the Everton job in recent times is akin to changes of UK Government. Whether the new incumbents be Labour or Tory, each has left the other an empty purse, and a whole raft of unfulfilled promises. Rafa full well knows what he has walked into, this job will be the measure of the man, and if he puts a pot on the table that will do for me.
55 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:34:30
56 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:35:43
The two outfield signings have much-needed pace. But we still need a few strategic signings, which need to double as replacements for those not up to the effort and finish required. Iowbi hopefully has found a new home, if reports are possibly true. Please!
Pickford was given a clean bill of health on Toffeeweb, but please no more howlers Jordan.
57 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:57:11
We're fucked folks.
58 Posted 09/08/2021 at 22:15:51
59 Posted 09/08/2021 at 22:41:15
60 Posted 09/08/2021 at 22:58:13
The fan base is on a knife edge. Were worried, and were fed up. Were not even signing promising kids this year, and the stadium is too far away to be the sticky plaster. The ‘last straw will be negative football, and negative “striker-less” selections. There will not be patience.
The problem for Moshiri is this was his pick 100%. Most of us didnt want him. He can win us round by going for it, but if this turns bad its going to get real bad. Brands, Moshiri and Bill will ALL be in the crosshairs next time.
PS whats with the lack of training vids on the main site???
61 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:03:54
Also in terms of goals scored and win percentage I find it amusing the flack he receives by some fans.
The biggest problem with his departure isn't Rafa, it's the 'starting all over again' that's so frustrating.
Duff players being given 5th chances, back to figuring out zonal making doesn't work, realising how slow and average our spine of the team is.
Talk about groundhog day. I'm hoping Brands has a few tricks up his sleeve because we need a whole set of magical performances, not a one trick pony.
62 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:09:48
The spotlight should be on the players. They are the serial offenders here. The problem at Everton is not the manager - 3 of our last few managers are now managing Real Madrid, Barcelona and Belgium! Some of the biggest jobs in world football currently.
Any idiots sharpening their swords for Benitez have learnt nothing from the last 5 years. Yes he was Liverpool manager, but if we dont give him a chance, we are not giving Everton a chance.
We are obviously skint. There were rumours Ancelotti had a meeting with Brands shortly before he left, and that meeting didnt go well apparently. Obviously Ancelotti knew we needed reinforcements and wasnt prepared to stay if he didnt have money to spend. At least Rafa has taken the job and is prepared to give it a go even with no money.
I still expect us to bring in a player or two - possibly on loan. It will be interesting to see what happens with our squad in the next 3 weeks or so. I dont think we can really judge Benitez until Christmas. We may well end up with some late arrivals. They will need a little while to get up to speed.
The fans have got to get behind the team and manager. Well be cutting off our nose to spite our face if we are on the managers back from the start, or even 10 games in. Give him a proper chance. Get behind the team.
63 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:11:35
64 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:20:37
If Moshiri and co wanted to give the fans attacking football then Benitez was not the right appointment and expecting the leapord to change his spots feels like a one way ticket to frustration. Im not expecting attacking football but I am expecting a bit more passion and intensity than we saw from Ancellotis team, one thing Benitez will not stand for is laziness.
My best hope is something like the better Moyes years, an organised hard working team who get the ball forward quickly and are hard to beat. If we get that allied with some good results and a 7th-ish finish I reckon a fair few will be happy enough and perhaps attacking football may come further down the line.
65 Posted 10/08/2021 at 00:38:19
66 Posted 10/08/2021 at 01:51:24
Mr Benitez himself would know he was not a popular choice and his reason for applying for the job was not for the love of the club. We are nothing more than a paycheck for a waning manager.
67 Posted 10/08/2021 at 07:59:04
Clubs around us like Villa, Leicester and West Ham have all strengthened whilst we appear to be continuing going backwards. The other difference this season is that the newly promoted sides don't appear to be pushovers.
The usual suspects, Moshiri, Kenwright, Brands and Walsh, have a lot to answer for in terms of the very weak squad.
I don't blame Rafa for taking the job but there will be extra pressure on him because of his background.
68 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:03:28
Do you go with the 4 centre-backs to be defensive and subsequently play the "zombie" football we bemoaned last season.
Or give the team an outlet like Digne, who gets forward, attacks and provides the type of service Calvert-Lewin thrives off?
All opinions and views but I'm for the latter, just replicate it on the right. Play with width and attacking intent. Not a Pulis style back four made up of centre-backs.
69 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:40:31
With you all the way on that one John, like you I am shall we say, advanced in years, and the majority of the time without the phenomenon of "Social Media"
There are a lot of people on social media slagging off Rafa and the players but, lets face it, more than 95% of those won't be there on Saturday!
70 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:37:48
To the public they say that the players have to improve, but the real work is at Finch Farm where a change in attitude needs to happen. Benitez performance will be determined by his ability to do this. Ancelotti failed.
On the field the objective will be to keep a clean sheet and nick a goal. Everton will be defensive, changing to offensive when the opportunity arises. They will never be all out attack until there is alot of further development.
Why is this the case?. Everton have not got enough players with the tactical and technical ability. Whats more some players and some Finch Farm Staff of questionable ability are not prepared to put in the work and effort necessary, and cannot be depended on. This is what Ancelotti found out and Benitez is fully aware of.
Whilst Ancelotti talked of the need to improve work and effort at the end of last season. Benitez is on to the case before the season starts.
Ancelotti would have been looking for additional pace, a glaring weakness last season, Benitez has brought in two with pace in this transfer window, on a budget. Two other players are needed the consensus on ToffeeWeb would suggest at right back and midfielder.
In attack it seems that the emphasis is on more players with finishing opportunities. I personally think that this is necessary, but also a aware professional clinical finisher is needed. Can't see the latter being a priority ahead of getting the team defensively together. Everton still have players and some training facility staff below the standard required to implement the plan.
Even with rested and injured players, the performance against Man U was a indictment of this.
71 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:00:15
I hear he is a cold fish so won't be sensitive to all the sh*t he'll cop if we dare to lose the opener. Having said that, I'm striking a tenner on a victory for Blues !
72 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:14:41
73 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:18:48
My other huge concern is our inability to improve our squad (FFP? Lack of cash?) which leaves us with the prospect of starting with a weaker team than the poor team that finished last season.
Sadly, Ive never felt so underwhelmed at the start of a season and really hope we can get 3 points at the weekend so we can kick on from there.
74 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:20:07
The defence thing reminded me of Stoke doing it at Goodison several years ago, lining up with 4 centre backs.
Random memory from that day was being surprised at seeing Ryan Shawcross leave the players entrance on his own, in tracksuit with his bag over his shoulder and walk down Goodison Road as if he was a kid just finished on the Park & heading home!!
75 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:55:49
Rodriguez, brilliant though he is, is a problem as well as a solution. This is why he is unwanted by clubs that are actually competing for honours.
Injuries and an inability to play a settled line up then played a part too.
That is why Ancelotti reverted to his horribly defensive approach - which in fairness was quite successful for a spell.
The wheels really came off as the injury situation and loss of form exposed our paper thin squad.
This all happened at the same time as Ancelotti suffered serious personal circumstances - including what must have been a terrifying burglary for his daughter.
Let's be honest, him and his team must have also cottoned on that FFP and Premier League rules were also going to start biting. These guys are not amateurs.
They rolled the dice, tried to get a tune out of a failed squad with a star manager and a broken galactico - and it didn't work. The club and strategy if you can call it that is not set up for success.
76 Posted 10/08/2021 at 13:50:11
Ancelotti and James himself realised that he would get no protection from referees. This is the nature of the Premier League, unrelenting exposure of a teams weaknesses wins matches. It is studied in depth and exploited to the maximum.
I love watching James play, especially some of his forward passes from right to left are out of this world. BUT I hate even more seeing us being repeatedly exploited when we are left exposed.
How would he fare in a 4-4-1-1 set up behind DCL?, I dont know but there maybe a way of us keeping compact as well as incorporating his mercurial talent.
77 Posted 10/08/2021 at 16:18:27
As for the magical Director of Football... well, we all got hoodwinked over that one; what an expensive disaster. Just hope – well, pray really – that he can make us competitive: win, lose or draw. While many don't deserve it, it just lets us show our support for the club.
78 Posted 10/08/2021 at 16:29:54
79 Posted 10/08/2021 at 16:39:56
"You have to play with what you have and not with what you wish you had."
Rafa has his work cut out for him undoubtedly. Hopefully he'll be given the ability to bring more players in who fit what he's trying to accomplish.
80 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:07:16
81 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:23:30
82 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:37:25
When you look at Brands's acquisitions, he doesn't look too shabby:-
Digne, Godfrey, Richarlison, Kean, Nkounkou, Branthwaite, Mina, Bernard (Free), Gomes, Gbamin (injuries not down to Brands) – with the only highly questionable imports being Delph and Iwobi (who many think was down to our owner).
83 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:47:42
If Everton are like Liverpool then no cash is being accepted for ale and food; cards only. It caused quite a bit of bother at Anfield on Sunday, not sure about last night.
On Sunday, one old fella in his seventies ordered his pint and produced his money, “Sorry” said the waitress “Cards only.”
“Cards” said the old fella, ”I've never had them.” Luckily for the old guy, the waitress was a diamond, put her finger to her mouth and said “Ssshhussh, it's on the house!”
If I go the game on Saturday, I'll keep my eye out for a benevolent looking waitress and go through the above motions adding tears to the occasion.
84 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:50:45
I've become so metropolitanised over the years that I can't remember the last time I had cash! I'm just glad they didn't have this contactless thing around when I was younger. I'm just about responsible enough now to manage it!!
85 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:56:07
I've heard that Dave behaves like royalty, in so far that he never carries cash. :)
Dave, If Vindictive Vera is on shift, you'll have no chance of gaining any sympathy, she's as hard as nails and even checks that 10p pieces are fake or not, nothing gets past her.
86 Posted 10/08/2021 at 20:44:24
This Saturday, the line-up could be the same that started on the first game last season against Tottenham... Tottenham 0 Everton 1, Team: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Doucouré, Allan, Gomes, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Rodriguez. 11 experienced full international players, who started off at the beginning of the season okay and were in the running near the end of the season for a Top 6. We all believe that we needed another midfielder, and I notice someone already commenting about Gbamin before he has even got a chance to prove himself, and a right-back.
The time to start criticizing the Director of Football is at the end of the transfer window; with 3 weeks to go, there is time for movement in and out of players.
87 Posted 10/08/2021 at 23:02:22
88 Posted 11/08/2021 at 05:47:35
89 Posted 14/08/2021 at 10:09:07
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