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Rafa Benitez defends calling Everton a small club and reacts fans’ backlash over his appointment

Rafa Benitez has been a controversial appointment by Everton as their new manager

Rafa Benitez has been a controversial appointment by Everton as their new manager (Picture: Everton YouTube)

Rafa Benitez insists he has no regrets over branding Everton a small club and is confident the negativity that has accompanied his recent appointment as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor will be quickly forgotten should he produce a winning team.

The Spaniard managed Liverpool between 2005 and 2010, winning the Champions League and FA Cup during his time at Anfield, during which he became universally popular with the club’s fans.

Benitez’s managerial career has since taken in spells at Newcastle and Chelsea in the Premier League, while he also endured a difficult spell at Real Madird and most recently worked in China as the boss of Dalian Professional.

Rafa Benitez has also confirmed Duncan Ferguson will be one of his assistant managers

Rafa Benitez has also confirmed Duncan Ferguson will be one of his assistant managers (Picture: Getty)

After Ancelotti’s departure earlier this summer, Everton considered a number of options to replace the Italian, before eventually settling on Benitez, despite his ties to their Merseyside rivals.

The 61-year-old’s appointment has been met with a far from positive response, on both sides of Stanley Park, particularly with Everton supporters who still recall his controversial comments a decade ago when he branded the Toffees a small club.

‘It depends on the context. It was a long time ago and I was fighting for my club,’ said Benitez when asked about that notorious insult. ‘That is what I am doing now.

‘I will fight for Everton every single game and compete against anyone. I am pleased this club is getting bigger and bigger and we can challenge and compete.

‘You can see in Liverpool, which is my city. We have connections in the red side and blue side.

‘The fans appreciate that we will be here working hard for the team and the club. Nobody will be taking about the past. I am thinking about the future.

‘To be fair the Evertonians around me are quite happy and very supportive and even the Liverpudlian’s have accepted it’s a chance for me to come back to the Premier League and compete for something.

‘A lot of people are encouraging me to do well I’m happy with that.’


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