Rafael Benitez has admitted his tenure at Everton was doomed from the start due to his links with bitter local rivals Liverpool.
The 62-year-old Spaniard was Reds manager for six years and won the Champions League in 2005 but took over Goodison Park in June 2021 amid much opposition from fans who carried a banner near his home that read ‘We know where you are live”. Don’t sign.”
Benitez, who was sacked in January after nine losses in 13 games, spoke about the difficulties of making things work – amazing Football every day He couldn’t make the changes he wanted, as he may have been accused of changing things too quickly.
He said: “I thought we could improve everything … in terms of staff, departments, cadres and things like that. I thought we could help make things better. In terms of experience, it was a good time and a pity at the same time.
“You have to analyze the context. When they came up with the offer, I knew that (fans) would say, ‘You’ve been to Liverpool’ and there would be a problem. I have a lot of friends who are blues, they knew I would give it my all and try to do my best to make things better.
“I knew it could be difficult, but because I’m red I might not have been able to make some decisions that were very clear to us at the beginning.”
Benitez started well, going unbeaten in four games and being nominated for Premier League manager of the month, but as the results began to turn, fans expressed their displeasure, chanting and holding banners at the manager.
And Benitez, still unemployed, added: “I had a meeting with a department head, I said: ‘You think everything is fine?’, he said: ‘Yes, everything is perfect.’ £600million spent can’t be perfect, if the fans and owners aren’t happy, it can’t be perfect.
“I realized we had to change things on the inside but I couldn’t do it right away because I was red and could be seen like ‘Oh he’s coming to change our club’. That’s the only thing. At another club I would make those decisions and I’ve done it in the past because it’s very clear it’s the way to improve, but at Everton I couldn’t do it.