By Noel Whelan

23rd Sep, 2022 | 12:25pm

Pundit lambasts Rafa Benitez amid 'massive' new Everton 'backlash'

Noel Whelan has insisted Rafa Benitez shouldn’t have taken the Everton job if he had reservations about his ties with Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 62-year-old was sacked after struggling with the “pressure and emotion” of his Toffees appointment.

Speaking to Sky Sports (21 September), Benitez admitted he knew it would be “difficult” to succeed at Everton due to his ties with Liverpool.

He suggested he couldn’t make certain “decisions” at Goodison Park because of his time at Anfield.

Benitez was sacked in January after losing nine of the last 13 Premier League games and struggling to win over the Everton faithful.

He was replaced by former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who ultimately staved off the threat of relegation.

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Whelan insisted Benitez failed to “make the most of the squad he had” at Everton.

He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “If he felt that way and knew that, he shouldn’t have taken the job.

“Why did he take it if he knew there would be problems with his Liverpool ties?

“He knew there would be backlash from both sets of supporters.

“He didn’t make the most of the squad he had, and that’s why he was sacked. Maybe the pressure and the emotion was too much for him to concentrate.

“It just didn’t work out for him. But we knew he was coming in with a massive spotlight on him because of what he did at Liverpool.

“It was never going to be an easy job.”

In other news, pundit fears for Everton as “serious” Nathan Patterson injury claim made.