Scottish Daily Mail

Benitez trapped in a loveless marriage


THE Everton rollercoas­ter visited all stations at Hull and the volatile nature of the ride was reflected in the songs from the away end. A goal down in 45 seconds, the disenchant­ed hordes berated Rafa Benitez and quickly joined in with chants from Hull’s fans about ‘getting sacked in the morning’. When a topsy-turvy tie turned in their favour, they began bellowing their belief that they will win the FA Cup. This rapid lurching between lows and highs is not sustainabl­e. Benitez avoided a giant-killing but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage at Goodison. In theory, he could win the FA Cup but would it boost his popularity? Not so much. There is too much antipathy towards him, and fans worn down by a sequence of six points from the last 36 in the league are itching for change. Owner Farhad Moshiri is no stranger to jettisonin­g managers, but what would that solve this time? It was a point made by Andros Townsend, whose 25-yard extra-time strike in extra-time secured a 3-2 triumph and a place in round four. ‘It’s been four different managers in five years,’ said Townsend. ‘We (the players) have underperfo­rmed, so 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. ‘The manager is trying to get the right characters in. Myself, Demarai (Gray), Salomon (Rondon). Maybe not fashionabl­e players, maybe not the type fans wanted to see here. But we fight for them and the fans appreciate that. ‘We need to cut out conceding early and giving ourselves a mountain to climb every game.’ A team with more quality than Hull, who were bursting with desire for boss Grant McCann, would have sent Everton packing long before Townsend’s winner. Their opener from Tyler Smith and equaliser from Ryan Longman were richly deserved. Everton kept fighting and Gray and Andre Gomes put them ahead before Townsend kept the dream alive. Benitez said: ‘The problems we are trying to fix are coming from some time ago. If the fans understand that, they will support the team. I’ll continue to do my best and be profession­al.’

 ?? ?? On target: Andre Gomes (right)celebrates his goal
On target: Andre Gomes (right)celebrates his goal
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