‘It is really important to show character and stay calm’: Rafa Benitez urges Everton to follow Arsenal’s example with Mikel Arteta and keep the faith despite miserable run of eight Premier League games without a win
- Everton were thrashed 4-1 at home by Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Wednesday
- Rafa Benitez’s side are now without a win in eight Premier League matches
- The Spaniard’s position as Toffees boss has come under increasing scrutiny
- He has called on his players to keep working hard amid their recent struggles
Rafa Benitez urged Everton to follow Arsenal and see how backing a manager through a difficult spell can pay off.
Former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta will return to Goodison Park with his position as Arsenal head coach now secure.
The club’s board kept faith with the Spaniard when he faced issues at the beginning of the season — when Arsenal lost their opening three games without scoring — and his team have since shown improvement.
Everton’s squad must stick together amid an eight-match winless run, Rafa Benitez insists
Benitez said Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal revival was a positive example of keeping faith with a coach
It remains to be seen whether Benitez will be afforded the same luxury. Everton, with a run of two points from the last 24, are horribly out of sorts and the disenchantment among supporters means Monday night’s atmosphere will be tense again.
But Benitez is capable of blocking out the noise and demanded his players continue to stick to the task ahead. He has received public backing from owner Farhad Moshiri and insists faith can be repaid with patience.
‘I think he (Arteta) is doing well,’ said Benitez. ‘He could be an example of a new manager at a new club under pressure. Little by little he has continued working the way he wants and the team is getting better.
‘They have also spent some money and signed some good players. He is an example of a manager at a new club who needed time and now he is collecting the price of that.’
The one difference is that Arteta won the FA Cup and Community Shield within his first eight months and supporters had an affinity to him as a former FA Cup-winning captain.
The challenge facing Benitez is huge, given that he is the first former Liverpool boss to lead Everton in more than a century, but he was in determined mood on Friday and is adamant the picture will change when Everton’s injury issues abate.
The Toffees were thrashed 4-1 by Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park on Wednesday
Benitez has called on his under-performing squad to continue working hard and get results
Benitez confirmed Sportsmail’s report on Friday that leading striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is a target for Arsenal, faces a battle to be fit to play before Christmas. But there were positive updates on key defender Yerry Mina and midfielder Andre Gomes, who have stepped up their training schedules.
‘When something is going wrong, it is really important to show character and stay calm,’ said Benitez. ‘That is what I am trying to do with my staff. We cannot complain about the effort of the players.
‘We are really disappointed with the way things are going but you cannot become a bad team in six weeks. We were doing the right things at the beginning of the season, win games and what has happened? We have had injuries. I am certain we will improve in the second part of the season.’