Everton scrape through but the fans' patience with Benitez has snapped

Rafa Benitez is trapped in a loveless marriage with Everton… fans’ patience has snapped and Farhad Moshiri is no stranger to jettisoning managers, but what would that solve this time?

  • Rafa Benitez felt the wrath of fans despite avoiding the ignominy of a giantkilling
  • Everton were a goal down in 45 seconds but fought back to win 3-2 in extra time
  • Supporters have been worn down by a disappointing run in the Premier League

The Everton rollercoaster visited all stations at Hull and the volatile nature of the ride was reflected in the songs that came from the away end.

A goal down in 45 seconds, the disenchanted hordes from Merseyside berated Rafa Benitez and quickly joined in with chants from Hull’s fans about him ‘getting sacked in the morning’. 

When this topsy-turvy tie turned in their favour, they began bellowing their belief that they will win the FA Cup.

Everton boss Rafa Benitez has urged disgruntled supporters to get behind the players 

None of this is sustainable, the lurching between lows and highs. Benitez may have avoided the ignominy of a giantkilling, but anyone who thinks this is not a loveless marriage is misguided.

Benitez, in theory, could win the FA Cup but would it boost his popularity? Not so much. There is too much antipathy towards him, and supporters, who have been worn down by a sequence in the Premier League of six points from the last 36 are itching for change.

Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s unpredictable owner, is no stranger to jettisoning managers, but what would that solve this time? 

It was a point made by Andros Townsend, whose super 25-yard strike in extra time won the match.

‘It’s been four managers in five years,’ said Townsend. ‘We (the players) have underperformed so we know it’s not a manager thing. They’ve had world-class managers here, the owner has spent a lot of money and wants a return. 

‘We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. Why are we not performing? Why are we not higher up the table? And that’s what we’re trying to do. 

‘The manager is trying to get the right characters in. Myself, Demarai (Gray), Salomon (Rondon) — maybe not fashionable players, maybe not the type the fans wanted to see here. But we fight for them and the fans appreciate that.’

Banners calling for the Spaniard to leave were unfurled during the FA Cup win at Hull City

Some supporters also chanted for Benitez to be sacked after the team trailed 1-0 at Hull

The brutal truth is that a team with more quality than Hull would have sent Everton packing long before Townsend’s 99th-minute drive. The goals they scored through Tyler Smith and Ryan Longman were richly deserved. 

Everton, however, kept fighting and the excellent Gray and Andre Gomes put them ahead before Townsend — who still has a cracked bone in his left foot — kept the dream alive.

Benitez said: ‘The problems we are trying to fix are from some time ago. If some fans understand that, they will support the team. That is the main thing, to stay behind the team. If they don’t understand that, some of them, that’s fine, it’s up to them.’

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