Rafa BenÝtez: Press Conference before Tottenham

05/11/2021evertonfc.com

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How is the confidence of players. Working harder this week?

Sometimes when you are doing well, it is easier for the manager. When you aren’t doing so well you have to think about how to improve things and especially the confidence and the mentality. Normally, I would go to the good things that we have done. We started really well this season. The players have shown commitment, intensity and everything that the fans were expecting. We have to remember that and go back to our first games in the season and what we were doing well.

You remind the players of the good times?

For sure, that is the main thing. We make sure that we take the positives. I said so many times at the beginning that we were doing so well, that it was difficult to keep this momentum. We have some injuries, some issues with players and at the end the Premier League is quite complicated. You make one mistake against a team and then the next game you lose a bit of confidence and the next game feels more difficult. You have to remember what you did well and try to stick with these ideas.

A bad time to play Spurs with their new manager?

You analyse everything and we know that we will be playing against a very good team. We cannot forget about that. Conte is a good manager, they have some good players. Will it be difficult? Yes. Maybe it’s not the best moment [to play them] because as you say they have a new manager. Will they have extra motivation? Maybe but that is just the difficulty of this competition. You have to compete against everyone at any time and we have to be ready. We saw against a lot of teams that we are capable to react.

Even the last game that we lost, the second half the team showed the commitment and reaction that you are expecting. We can do this again against Tottenham on Sunday.

Does the magnitude of the game suit a player like Andros Townsend?

I think he’s a great professional who is doing well for us. These kind of games can sometimes be motivation for players and hopefully it will be like that [for him].

Pleased with Townsend and Demarai Gray progress since joining the Club?

I think if you analyse the past, without spending any [significant] money, these two players are making a big difference for the team. I remember the fans at the beginning [of the season] were saying in interviews that we needed wingers and pace up front. We have got that without spending too much. I think they (the fans) are really pleased with the performances of both players and it’s not easy to keep the same level for too long so hopefully they can continue at the same level against Tottenham.

Importance of Fabian Delph over coming weeks

At the beginning of the season we had too many players that had been injured for a long time in the past. That was one of the big issues we had to tackle, to bring players back. Now we have Tosun, Delph, Branthwaite is coming back. Still we are missing Doucouré, Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina. They are key players for us, but we are bringing [other] players back. Hopefully these players will have a big part in our success and we can win some games now.

Lucas Digne back?

Digne is fine. He has been training so hopefully he will be available.

Yerry Mina?

No Yerry Mina, no Andre Gomes, no Doucoure and no Calvert-Lewin so more or (less the same squad we had on Monday). One of the reasons why we appointed the rehabilitation coach is because we want to be sure that we have these players fit as soon as possible

How big is this game?

Nobody wants to lose any game but especially when you have lost three in a row. The fans understand the context. It is something we need to analyse carefully - where we were in the summer, where we were earlier this season and the injuries we currently have. We had great performances from the team at the beginning of the season. I remember when everyone was talking about it being the best football they’ve seen in a while and now we have this issue with the last three games. I have 100 per cent belief that they will do well during the season. I can see the commitment of the players and I see what we’re trying to change.

Trademark Conte team?

They are aggressive but it depends on the team he coaches. If you coach Juventus they are the strongest team in Italy, if you coach Chelsea then they are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League...normally you have to be aggressive and on the front foot. His teams are going for the titles - he wants to be competitive and win.

Thoughts on the appointment?

It’s got nothing to do with me. I don’t like to see any manager losing his job but it’s not my decision.

What are you looking for from your team this weekend?

I want my team to compete, give everything on the pitch and play good football in a lot of games. The reaction we saw in the second half at Wolves is how we want to play. I would like to see this every game. We know where we are. The team has certain characteristics and we need to look to improve certain things. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Are they an honest group?

They know (it hasn't been good enough). After the games we watch clips and analyse what happened and then we start working on it - coaching and looking to put things right. We understand we are making mistakes at set-pieces so we know we have to improve. The players need to take responsibility and these players are doing that. They have the commitment and they are keen to learn - it is just a question of time before we can compete at the same level we were at the start of the season.

Return of Delph important for your team?

It is really important for any squad to have players with experience – and experience of winning trophies is quite difficult These kinds of players can help the players around them, the young players, if they are a good example. We are talking about someone who wants to play and do well. After injuries, coming back with his desire and commitment, he is very helpful for the team.

Demarai Gray has played a lot of football. Thinking about resting him?

I want to rest him at the end of the season. He has to play very game if he is available and playing well. We will see in the next month because we have too many games. But if he is available and fit, he can make the difference and has to be on the pitch as much as he can. If he is not playing well or not working hard in the training sessions, we can give him a rest. But he is a young player with desire and commitment and quality and we need that.

Chance for Anthony Gordon?

He is doing well, really pleased for him to be called by the Under-21s. He is a player who is growing and getting better He can score goals and has to go there.
He has to keep balancing his game. I am sure he will do well and be a n important player for Everton in the future.

I don’t want to lose one game. Not three of four in a row, for sure. We have to build a team that can be competitive in any game These games when you’ve not done so well in the others are really important for the confidence of the players. We have to give everything and be sure, at least, we leave the pitch without any regrets

Importance of Seamus Coleman being fit and his leadership?

Seamus is a really important player for us. It is a crucial time for us because we have so many games coming. The fact we had too many players with long-term injuries in the past, we needed to assess that and control the situation. Bringing back players like Coleman is really important for us. It is really important to have more bodies and players who can make the difference and be an example for their teammates.