Rafa Benitez is clearly very frustrated that results aren’t coming to his injured Everton side following a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Toffees are now winless in five and live in the muddled middle of the Premier League table with 15 points. Southampton’s in 13th with 14 points and sixth-place Manchester United only has 17. It’s all wide open.
So that’s why the fine margins that Benitez believes have led to draws instead of wins against Manchester United and Tottenham, and losses instead of draws against West Ham, Watford, and Wolves — Okay, the Watford one shouldn’t be in there, but he mentions it — have been co costly.
“More than the possession, we have chances and we didn’t [allow] any shots on target against a team that is quite a good team,” Benitez said. “If we play with this intensity, I think everybody will be happy. The attitude and the intensity have been there from the players since the beginning.”
Benitez, who is without star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and influential midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure amongst others, also thought that VAR’s decision not to give Richarlison a penalty was an incorrect decision (though he admits Mason Holgate’s late red card was probably correct).
“The penalty, if you have the same challenge in the middle of the pitch even if you touch the ball could be a foul,” Benitez said. “For me, it has to be a penalty. The red card, to be fair, he touched the ball but was high so maybe it’s red.”
Benitez also seemed to be confused about praising the reaction of a team to losing three-straight matches because he believes they’ve showed the right attitude in reacting to each of the wins.
“We cannot forget that West Ham was a level game with one mistake,” he said. “[Then] We were winning 2-1 against Watford and we conceded four goals in 30 minutes, something very difficult to explain. And then the third one against Wolves, the reaction in the second half was quite good. It’s not just the reaction. They know what we have to do. We know what this team has to do to win games and we did it again today.”