By Alan Hutton

7th Dec, 2021 | 8:30pm

Pundit: I feel sorry for Benitez at Everton after official statement

Rafael Benitez had “his hands tied behind his back” at Everton thanks to Marcel Brands’ failures in the transfer market, according to Alan Hutton.

The former Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted he has felt sorry for the Spaniard following the Dutch chief’s departure.

Football Insider revealed last week (3 December) Brands was “90 per cent” likely to be sacked, with Benitez given the backing of the board.

Everton confirmed the director of football’s exit via a statement on Sunday (5 December).

Hutton insisted Brands left Benitez in the lurch after years of heavy spending limited the Toffees’ transfer strength this summer.

Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Maybe they should have done it a few years ago. Then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad at the moment.

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“This is a guy who’s spent what, £300-500million on players. I can’t believe they’ve waited until now to make a change when they knew it wasn’t working.

“I’ve always said I felt sorry for Rafa a little bit. He spent £1.7million, Demarai Gray was brilliant last night (v Arsenal). It wasn’t Andros Townsend’s best game but he still played at a level that has been acceptable.

“He’s kind of had his hands tied behind his back to go on and prove it. He was fighting a losing battle with some of the fans because of the Liverpool situation.

“It’s been hard for him. He didn’t spend that money before so that’s not down to him. He’s only working with what he’s got. He’s had a lot of injuries to deal with a drop in form from somewhere. So it’s been hard.

“Maybe a change in direction higher above him will help move the team forward.”

Brands may not be the only exit from Goodison this month.

Football Insider has revealed (6 December) head of recruitment Gretar Steinsson is also in line for the chop.

In other news, ex-manager makes “nightmare” Calvert-Lewin claim after what he’s heard from Everton.