Digne: Benitez didn't fit at Everton

Tuesday, 29 March, 2022 23comments  |  Jump to last

Lucas Digne says that Rafael Benitez's eventual sacking proved him right over his well-publicised disagreement with the former Everton manager and that he was the wrong appointment for the club.

The Frenchman suggests that there was unanimity among the players that the Spaniard was implementing the wrong strategies and insists that he was forced out of the club by Benitez along with James Rodriguez.

"When you are part of the framework, there are discussions with the coach. The relationship we had was not good.

"It was complicated to be excluded from the group for a month. It was an unprecedented situation in my career. But I had my family and my teammates with me.

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"I have never refused to play," Digne insists

"It was a way for him to protect himself. I never asked for that. People who know me at the club know that everything was going very well. I was not the only one to leave, moreover (James Rodriguez, in particular).

"[Our disagreements were [i]n relation to the style of play, especially. I thought we had a team that could have a lot more possession, which we had the quality for. He asked me the question, I gave him my answer.

"I know my place. I felt legitimate to give him my feelings and those of the other players in the locker room. The group was unanimous. The final outcome proved me right, since he was fired because of the poor results.

"I think he also had a bad philosophy. He didn't fit at Everton.

“I lived three-and-a-half-years of happiness and love with the supporters. I had, and still have, a great relationship with them, with people at the club, my former teammates, but I don't look back.”

» Read the full article at Mail Online


Reader Comments (23)

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John Raftery
1 Posted 29/03/2022 at 15:02:11
I think the team has demonstrated this season and last they didn’t have the capacity to play a possession style game and win points. It was Benitez’s mistake to select personnel and formations aiming to dominate possession but without enough attention to staying solid when defending. So far Lampard seems to be falling into the same trap.
Paul Swan
2 Posted 29/03/2022 at 17:32:36
John I think our possession stats under Benitez were appalling and this is what Dinge is saying. Benitez seemed to be happy to let teams have the majority of the ball. Lampard however has gone back to trying to play out from the back. It seems that neither are right as we have a group of players completely incapable of defending and equally incapable of retaining possession or simple passing which is why the end result is exactly the same
James Flynn
3 Posted 29/03/2022 at 17:55:45
Re-enforces Richy's comments on how Benitez basically kicking James off the Team affected the locker room.
Steve Brown
4 Posted 29/03/2022 at 17:59:15
John @ 1, dominate possession under Benitez? He played sloppy route one shite.

From the Athletic:

“Last season, Everton were middle of the pack for how often they attempted passes over 30 yards. This season, they’re 75th percentile for passing length and 87th percentile for passing height compared to all clubs in Europe’s top five leagues since 2019. No wonder their pass completion rate has fallen from 10th in the Premier League last season at 80.4 per cent to 72.6 per cent in this one, just outside the bottom three.

Like a lot of clubs who pass long, Benitez’s Everton also passed wide. Their switches per pass and crosses per penalty area entry are both up above the 70th percentile this season. That’s not usually a sign of a healthy possession game — none of the Premier League’s current top six are in the top half for those stats.”

Steve Brown
5 Posted 29/03/2022 at 18:06:28
And let’s not forget the following:

19 points from 19 league games
Win rate of 31.8% compared to Ancelotti’s 46.3%.
31 goals scored and 39 goals conceded in his time.
He signed Rondon!

He contends with Mike Walker to be the worst manager in Everton’s history.

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 29/03/2022 at 18:12:29
Most footballers will say anything when things aren't going well imo. It didn't look like there was anything wrong with the players early on in the season, except Richarlison, who Townsend had to take the ball off so Calvert-Lewin could take the penalty at Brighton.

Brighton was actually one of the most complete away games Everton have played in years (again imo) and then the injuries struck to Calvert-Lewin, Doucouré, Richarlison and Yerry Mina, and then Everton's form fell off a cliff.

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 29/03/2022 at 18:15:18
I spent most of the summer fearing the worst when the rumours surfaced. When it became a reality, I tried to put a brave face on things as I just wanted what is best for Everton.

For a brief period, it looked like it might work. But the reality and my instinctive fear came home to roost.

Let's get over the line starting Sunday.

Dale Self
8 Posted 29/03/2022 at 18:19:27
If Digne was looking out for Everton's interests in offering this insider perspective then as a veteran footballer he would know that right fucking now is not the time to offer it. End of.

I know I said end of but have to add that he is probably trying to impress El Slippo.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 29/03/2022 at 18:22:23
That's a very good point Tony. At Brighton, we were in good spirits having watch a very good performance.

Benitez almost came over to us but gave it a second thought.

Everyone suffers injuries, but I think we've had rotten luck. He might not be the centre back I've been screaming for, but Mina has been a big miss. Calvert-Lewin, our only striker out for a long period as well as missing Doucoure and seeming rushing him back when not really ready. And now Allan missing.

And of course, selling a French international left back because of a fallout.

I want this season over so we can re-group. See you Sunday.

John Raftery
10 Posted 29/03/2022 at 22:47:10
Steve (4) My point is if the players were capable of controlling the game through possession they would have won more points. With the exception of the away match at Chelsea Benitez persisted with two attacking wide players, a striker and only two in central midfield, one of those being Doucouré who was encouraged to get forward more than he had last season. Consequently we were left wide open defensively.

There also seemed to be an insistence on trying to play out from the back but without the players to do that effectively. The outcome, predictably, was we not only failed to control possession but also lacked the defensive strength, both numbers and quality, to keep clean sheets.

Given the inability to control the game through possession Benitez would have been better to select a team first and foremost to stop the opposition scoring and playing on the counterattack. Lampard needs to do that in what remains of this season.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 30/03/2022 at 00:24:41
John Raffery @ 10: I agree; further more, Lampard should be made to watch that Chelsea game and reminded, if he doesn't know already (and if he doesn't, well I'd be worried!) - Yes the squad is (very) limited this seems to be what passes for the best you will get out of them. Their Goldilocks zone, "Not too much skill, because they can't. Not too much fight, because they won't "
Neil Cremin
12 Posted 30/03/2022 at 22:52:20
I agree totally with Dale. What is the motivation here?

Also, I was very disappointed with Digne reaction to the coin throwing incident. No way am I condoning the incident but I thought it was a rock that hit him by his reaction, which means the greater the reaction the greater the punishment to the club for the stupidity of a few. Some loyalty and love.

Andrew Keatley
13 Posted 31/03/2022 at 01:19:42
Neil (12),

So Digne is supposed to show loyalty and love to the club in the moment after being struck in the face by a coin thrown by an Everton fan? Some fans want the moon on a stick.

Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 31/03/2022 at 03:01:56
Neil and Dale

Digne now plays for Villa. Him bringing this up doesn't exactly endear him to Villa fans who are thinking “why the fuck is he still talking about Everton?”

Now we can argue about his ability and his form but, based on his attitude, interviews and social media before and since he left, I do think he had a genuine affinity for tte club.

As for the coin? Sorry but if you're focused on a game and a hard object suddenly hits your head you're probably shocked and thinking “What the fuck was that?” It's not like it came in slow motion and he rationalized “Oh just a coin but I will act surprised and pained, just to be a wanker.”

Neil Cremin
15 Posted 31/03/2022 at 06:53:25
Andrew & Kieran,

I accept both points. I raised it for two reasons:

I was surprised at how animated Digne's reaction to the incident. Just my observation and fear of repercussions for the club due to actions of a couple of idiots.

Secondly, why is he bringing this up now? What impact has it on the current squad and their fragile mentality in fighting relegation?

Derek Moore
16 Posted 31/03/2022 at 07:08:51
Neil, Digne was giving an interview to the French press. They asked him both about his departure from Everton and how he was finding his new club.

And not trying to be rude, but why would you expect Digne to give a sweet shit about Everton, their fragile mentality or anything else? He's a Villan now. We're well in the rear view.

Jim Bennings
17 Posted 31/03/2022 at 07:15:05
Fed up with this one now.

Stopped really listening to Digne when he started the arse licking of Steve "the manager was a huge reason why I joined here" Gerrard.

For me the whole Digne thing was just used as another stick to beat Benitez with regardless of whether or not we liked Benitez here or not.

The fact is Digne was very good going forward in his first two seasons, he was okay last season under Carlo but this season his form dipped further, and at no point in his time here was he actually a very good defender.

It's just a shame that we didn't try to sign a left back with more English league experience than the Ukrainian lad because it's going to be really hard for him now especially with the traumas back home.

Andrew Bentley
18 Posted 31/03/2022 at 19:36:44
Irony is that Digne would have been perfect in the 3-4-3 that Lampard plays and would offer us a lot more defensive protection in that shape whilst allowing him to have got forward more, where he was more effective than Mykolenko, Kenny, or anyone else that gets played there,

Shame is we didn't get rid of Rafa before Digne and not sign the 2 fullbacks - Lampard would have preferred that option I'm sure.

That way you could play Holgate, Keane & Godfrey as a back 3 with Seamus and Digne in the wide positions, making us much more defensively solid. Digne would have offered better attacking options as well.

Hindsight is a lovely thing. Shame our board didn't have any flipping foresight!!

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 01/04/2022 at 09:29:41
Confirms that the team downed tools after the October International break, with the aim of getting rid of the manager. They had support at Finch Farm, hence the Head of Medical Services getting the sack.

Benitez had the support of Moshiri, but was excluded from transfers in the January transfer window and left as a result. He was not sacked, but sought agreement to leave.

I also think they worked against Ancelotti on his quest for Europe at the of the previous season.

No wonder Everton are in a relegation battle with players not preparing for part of the season and with that supported attitude at Finch Farm. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Frank's criticism. At least Benitez got rid of one of the perpetrators, Digne.

Tony Cheek
20 Posted 01/04/2022 at 18:14:06
Benitez: "Digne didn't fit at Everton"!

At least you got that right, Rafa!

Steavey Buckley
21 Posted 02/04/2022 at 18:20:33
Digne had lost the 'sparkle' last season under Ancelotti. When Digne first came to Everton he was a world class left back, whose defending was excellent, but his assists and crossings were even better. Yet, last season and this season before he went to Aston Villa, Ben Godfrey was a far better left back, as Digne's defending became awful and his assists and crossings became non existent.

So if Ancelotti could not improve Digne, how can Digne accuse Benitez of 'not fitting in well?' Benitez actually is responsible for getting more out of Doucoure, Tom Davies, Delph and Anthony Gordon than last season, while his 2 summer buys Townsend and Grey proved to be good summer buys considering the financial restrictions placed on Benitez. Yet, both players were playing well under Benitez.

Where Benitez went badly wrong when he signed 2 full backs from Scotland and Ukraine for 26 million pounds who are not good enough at this moment to help Everton get out of their relegation plight. When the 26 million should been used to find experienced players at the EPL level who could be helping Everton.

Dale Self
22 Posted 08/04/2022 at 18:11:12
Benitez: Digne didn't fit his boots.

Subtitle: But he threw a fantastic froggy fit.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 11/04/2022 at 19:26:49
Jerome (19),I’ve heard that Gerrard is not happy with Digne on and off the field and the Villa supporters are even less happy than Gerrard is with him!! While at Goodison Everton fans are warming to Mykolenco as he settles into the team no matter who signed him!!

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