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‘Rafa needs time’: Benítez gets backing from Everton’s owner Moshiri

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Farhad Moshiri has claimed Rafael Benítez will be given time and financial support to revive Everton despite fans turning on the club’s hierarchy after the Merseyside derby humbling by Liverpool.

Moshiri was in the United States as Everton succumbed to a sixth defeat in eight winless matches on Wednesday, and was therefore spared the direct criticism aimed at the chairman, Bill Kenwright, and director of football, Marcel Brands, after the 4-1 reverse. Chants of “sack the board” emanated from the home fans who remained inside Goodison Park at the final whistle as those responsible for woeful recruitment over several years, and not simply the former Liverpool manager, were identified as the cause of the club’s continued decline.

Related: Benítez and Rondón are symptoms, not cause, of Everton’s deep malaise | Jonathan Wilson

Benítez is Moshiri’s fifth permanent managerial appointment in five years and spent £1.7m this summer as a result of the club having to navigate Premier League profit and sustainability rules. His team host Arsenal on Monday, when Everton’s majority shareholder is expected to be present, before travelling to Crystal Palace and Chelsea. In a text exchange with TalkSport’s Jim White, Moshiri maintained he stood by his latest controversial managerial appointment and would back Benítez with funds in January.

Asked whether he still supported Benítez, the billionaire replied: “Yes. Football is about crisis one day and glory the following day. Rafa is a good manager and underperformance is largely due to the injuries. Next two weeks, we will get to a full squad and, in the meantime, results will improve. Rafa needs time to have his mark on the squad. He will be supported to add depth to the squad. Managers need time. I have no doubt that we will have a strong second-half to the season.”

Dysfunction within the Everton hierarchy has been evident for some time, with Moshiri appointing managers and sanctioning signings against the wishes of his director of football. Brands stopped briefly to talk to one irate fan as he exited the directors’ box on Wednesday. Footage of their exchange shows Brands, when asked whether he was responsible for recruiting the team on display, reply: “Is it only the players?” He does not elaborate on who else he considers to blame.

Despite Moshiri’s optimism that Benítez will have a fully fit squad within the next fortnight Dominic Calvert-Lewin may struggle to return within that timeframe. The centre-forward has been sidelined since August with a thigh injury and, having suffered a relapse, has only recently resumed light training.

Calvert-Lewin could be a target for Arsenal next summer when they look to replace Alexandre Lacazette. Benítez admitted this week that Everton would need to “sell some players at a profit and use this money to improve the squad”, having had little to show for Moshiri’s £500m investment in players over the past five years.

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