By Noel Whelan

15th Jan, 2022 | 9:00am

Benitez facing Everton fans backlash after Digne lifts the lid on fall-out - pundit

Noel Whelan has insisted Lucas Digne has piled the pressure on Rafael Benitez at Everton after issuing a statement prior to joining Aston Villa.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 28-year-old’s message to fans would only increase the scrutiny on the Spanish manager.

Digne took to his personal Instagram on Wednesday (12 January) to thank Everton and the Goodison Park faithful for their support.

He signed off by saying: “It only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.”

Whelan insisted the fans would be on Benitez’s back about Digne’s exit.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “He’s a massive loss for Everton. I’m not sure fans will be too pleased about losing him. You’re losing a player there that loved the club.

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“It puts more pressure on Benitez. I don’t think fans are disillusioned by the fact that they had a fallout. The reason why he’s left is because of the manager.

“He would have liked to have stayed at the club longer. There was no whispers about him leaving Everton up until the point of the fallout with the manager.

“They’ve had a really difficult six weeks now in the Premier League, probably longer. This is just piling more pressure.

“He was a fan favourite. A player that the fans have loved because of the way he played, because of his attitude, because of the fact that he loved playing in Everton shirt.

“This has piled the pressure on Benitez even more now. The player didn’t want to leave. He was quite happy at Everton until that manager came into the football club.”

As revealed by Football Insider, Aston Villa have agreed a total deal worth £53million, including transfer fee, add-ons and wages, to sign Digne.

He had not played for Everton since the start of December.

In other news, mystery Premier League club trying to sign Everton 25-year-old now available for sale.