Benitez: Liverpool and Everton fans both fine with me
Rafa Benitez insists Everton fans and Liverpool fans both wish him well in his new managerial role at Goodison Park.
At the end of June, Benitez was controversially announced as the new Everton manager, with fans of the club seemingly unhappy with the appointment due to his past with city rivals Liverpool.
The Spaniard was in charge of the Reds over 10 years ago but helped them to two Champions League finals, including the one in 2005 which they won versus Milan in Istanbul.
His successes, particularly in Europe, led to him becoming a beloved figure at Anfield, even if he was eventually dismissed after a major downturn in form towards the end of his tenure.
When in charge of Liverpool, he would also refer to Everton as a "small club" due to their tactics in one particular Merseyside Derby clash.
Despite the clear outpouring of rage on social media among some Evertonians, Benitez believes he ultimately has the support of the fans - and Liverpool supporters too.
"To be fair, the Evertonians around my place are quite happy and were very supportive," Benitez told reporters on Wednesday.
"Even the Liverpudlians accepted it was an opportunity for me to come back to the Premier League. It was quite good.
"Talking about the banners, we can talk about one or two people. You never know. It is better to think positive, how a lot of people were encouraging me to do well. I am happy with that."
Benitez also explained his "small club" comments, saying:
"It was a long time ago. You are fighting for your club and that is what I will do now," Benitez said.
"If you are the manager you have to defend your club in any context. In this case, I will fight for Everton.
"I will try to do my best every single game. I will try to compete against anyone. I am really pleased this club is getting bigger and bigger and I am happy with the idea we can challenge and compete and I will fight for that."
The reaction from Everton fans
Though not universally negative, the majority of Everton fans appear to be unhappy with Benitez becoming manager.
Here are a selection of tweet reactions:
"Disgusting and embarrassing from the club this. Another write off season or few under him and just embarrassing. You’d never see Liverpool appoint a former Everton manager.'"
Time for me to take an emotional break from the blues. I’ll be back after he has gone. 👋🏻— James&Cheese (@rpw1888) June 30, 2021
"Alienated most of the fans base. Will create an awful atmosphere at Goodison. For me and my time being a blue nothing surprises me anymore. The lack of care given to our fans by the board staggers me. just goes to show the fans don’t matter and never will."
"Time for me to take an emotional break from the Blues. I’ll be back after he has gone."
"Stop trying to sugar coat it, biggest mistake in the club’s history, and there’s been plenty. Moshiri hasn’t got a clue about the clubs fan base, especially the local ones, he’s finished…"
"Not my club any more. Unfollowed."
"No acknowledgement anywhere of the fans opposition to this decision. Why not own the decision and confront the reality that he isn't wanted head-on, rather than pretending it doesn't exist. The usual (and wrong) PR spiel about his success and his character isn't good enough."