Rafa Benitez Liverpool comment is not one Everton fans want to hear

Asia's Tech News Daily

It’s not uncommon for managers under pressure to start coming up with often abstract justifications for the performances from their sides.

And it seems as though we could be starting to see elements of this from Everton boss Rafael Benitez.

The Spanish coach is facing mounting scrutiny following his team’s long run without a victory – a miserable sequence that hit eight matches on Wednesday with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Liverpool.

Inevitably, Benitez is facing the kind of questions manager’s dread, ones relating to their own future, and what’s causing their players to perform so poorly on a weekly basis.

Some managers will blame the players, others will blame bad luck, while some will turn to statistics to paint a picture that all is not as bad as it seems.

It’s that latter approach that Benitez has seemingly opted to take, turning to running stats as a quantifier for his team’s positive performance in Wednesday’s derby defeat.

He said: “We are really disappointed with things. We ran more than Liverpool in every single department but conceded four goals. They punished our mistakes and it is something that we are already analysing.”

Although Benitez’s comments are factually correct, the same doesn’t necessarily highlight a positive performance. In fact, the same can largely be attributed to how little Everton had possession of the ball.

On the night, Everton finished with a possession average of just 32%, meaning that they spent the bulk of the evening chasing after the ball, with Liverpool dictating play and tempo.

This inevitably meant the Blues had to do more running, thus elucidating the higher running statistics when compared to the dominant visitors.

It’s not the first time Benitez has referenced running stats in relation to performances, stating positively in the build- up to the Merseyside derby in an interview with Amazon Prime: “Before this week, Everton were the team that were running more than anyone, we were top of the Premier League.”

Again, given that Everton rank inside the bottom three in terms of having the lowest possession average in the league, it’s fair to say that their lack of time in possession will be a big contributory factor to those high running numbers.

We won’t ever know if Benitez truly believes these numbers accurately represent good performances, or if it’s a case of him grasping for a positive during a difficult period.

But Everton fans won’t care either way, they’ll just be keen to see their side starting winning football matches again, irrespective of where they rank in the running charts.

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