Rafa BenÝtez: Press Conference before Liverpool



Is there more significance to this game when on poor form?

I think it's a massive game for us. We have a bad run now and we need to start winning and a derby is always an opportunity to put things right. It’s a massive game for us and we are just thinking about getting three points.

How do you feel going into this fixture as the Everton manager having been in the opposing dugout in the past?

Obviously, I know what the derby means for everyone. I’m really conscious about that and thinking about how important it will be and I’m excited because I want to do well.

Fans frustration and anger at Club’s current position

I think it is a little bit about everything. Obviously, at the beginning [of the season] we were really pleased, really happy. Now we are frustrated. As a manager you want to win, you want to do well, and it is a challenge for me. I'm convinced that we will do well, but I can understand the frustration from the fans because we want to do well. It has been some years that we are not improving at the level we deserve. I think that is understanding the way that the fans are feeling at the moment and we share this frustration.

What do you need from your players in this game to get back to winning ways?

I think the fans understand that we had some issues. We have a better situation now in terms of number of injuries, but there are still key players that they are not available.
At the beginning of the season we were doing well so the fans appreciate that. The connection with the players was really good and what we have to do is to go back to this level. Be sure that we can get the best from the players that we have at the moment and be sure that we can improve in the future.

How much have you thought about this game since you joined the Club?

With Newcastle, with Chelsea we played Liverpool. Even with Valencia in the past and now it is Everton. It’s a derby, it’s a massive game. It is different, it is special, and I'm really convinced that we have to do well. It will be an opportunity for us to change things and to improve everything for us for the rest of the season so it's a great opportunity for us.

Opportunity to show you fight for this Club?

Yes, 100 per cent. Normally I like to win every game and then this is the most important game for us because it’s the next one. What I said before, with a bad run of results then it's important to do well and if we can get three points then it could be a massive change in our season.

Form out the window when it comes to a derby?

Yes, I agree with that. A derby is a derby, and everything can change. You never know. It depends on the atmosphere, depends on how well we can do it and the connection with the fans. I think the fans they know that they are really important and massive for us. We can create a good atmosphere and everything can happen in a derby. As I said before, for us it is a massive game because we can get three points and start building on that.

What did you make of the fan banner at Brentford?

The analysis has to be done in a careful way. The Club has spent money and is trying to do the best in every single department - that is something I’ve seen from the beginning. Everyone is trying to improve things and trying to do their best. Everyone was happy with the start of the season, but because we haven’t had good results lately people are starting to question everything. The Club is trying to do its best. We can’t forget that it is a massive thing to get this new stadium. Everything will change so we have to be sure we continue supporting and pushing. We will get better and we want to be better.

Is your form a concern?

It isn’t easy to be so unlucky. We have three key players injured - (Tom) Davies, (Yerry) Mina and (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin. Andre Gomes has started training with the team, but the problem has been missing key players in key games. This stopped us performing at the level we were performing at, at the start of the season. Now we are managing a situation that isn’t easy. The results have not been good enough. Normally, you lose confidence but hopefully we can start winning tomorrow and we can go back to what we were doing at the beginning - the team working hard and winning games.

Injury updates?

The group of players is the same, but Andre Gomes is training. We’re still without Dominic (Calvert-Lewin), Tom (Davies) and Yerry (Mina). At least we have players training regularly and that is a great advantage for the future.

Is this a special game for you?

A derby is always special. I live in the city so I know what it means. The passion is massive. It is really important for everyone and that is why I want to win and do well. For us - as a club and a team - it is really important to bring back to the confidence and play at the level we were at the beginning.

How can you get out of this run of form?

Winning tomorrow. That is the easiest way to do it. Winning games is what everyone is expecting. To go to a position where you can compete means you have to do a lot of things right. Rome wasn’t built in one day so we are still working on that. I am still disappointed because at the moment we aren’t winning, but I still have confidence that we will do well - especially in the second part of the season when we have players back from injuries.

Have you spoken to your players?

I have the opportunity to talk with the group after every game and now before this game with some individuals. It is just to be sure they don’t give up. Something we changed from the past, you could see the players working hard and fighting when they were 1-0 down. The fans appreciated that. That is what we are expecting. The players have to continue and keep working hard. The way we are doing things, they know it is the way. Now we have to improve on the pitch. Maybe at the beginning everything was right. Now you make some decisions and people have different opinios. What we can’t do it give up. We have to continue working the same way and be sure we do better – and we have an opportunity tomorrow

Potential mental boost if win?

If we do it tomorrow, I don’t need to say anything. It will be massive for everyone and a crucial point or us in terms of bringing back the confidence. If we cannot do it we have to be sure we are strong enough. I have a lot of confidence in this group of players because they give everything. I am sure we will do better, especially in the second half of the league, if we have players coming back or can make additions in January. I think we will do much better and the fans will be happy at the end of the season.

How do you start scoring?

We were pushing and attacking enough to score one or two. The people around the box, the wingers and strikers, have to get in the box. Doucoure had a couple of chances We have this determination sometimes but we have to be sure we have more players getting in the box trying to score. It is the way to win games – if you can keep the balance and be solid in defence at the same time.

Atmosphere potentially work against you?

I think the fans are intelligent and know we need them. They are crucial and if they are behind the team, you could see the atmosphere in the first games. They were behind the team and the team reacted and the players appreciated it. They will realise how important they are for the players You can complain if the players are not playing well or the tactics are not good enough. But they cannot complain about the commitment and desire and effort of the players. It is what you are expecting from an Everton player: give everything and after try to play as well as you can. I think they will realise how important they are for the team. It is a derby and I am sure they will be behind the team.