Rafael Benitez press conference: what has Everton manager said about Liverpool links and 'small club' comment?

Rafa Benitez has spoken at a press conference about his new job and threats from Everton supporters

Rafael Benitez has been out of work since leaving Chinese side Dalian.
Rafael Benitez has been out of work since leaving Chinese side Dalian.

New Everton manager Rafael Benitez says he isn’t put off by threats from fans over his previous ties with Liverpool

The Spaniard was speaking for the first time since taking over as boss of Everton. Some supporters against the idea of the Toffees hiring the former Liverpool boss hung a threatening banner close to his home on Merseyside.

Sign up to our World of Sport newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Benitez said: “I was convinced when I decided to say yes, or even decided to start talking. It’s not something I’m scared of, it’s the opposite. I want to win, I want to do well.”

Rafa Benitez won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.

At a glance: 5 key points

- Benitez emerged as the controversial first choice of Everton majority shareholder xxxx after Carlo Ancelotti quit to rejoin Real Madrid

- He signed a three-year contract

– Some Everton supporters displayed a banner near Benitez’s home which said; “We know where you live. Don’t sign.”

- in 2007, Benitez was quoted as calling Everton ‘a small club’

- He becomes only the second manager to take charge of both Liverpool and Everton after William Barclay, who helped found Liverpool FC

What has been said

Speaking at a press conference, tBenitez: “To be fair, the Evertonians around my place are quite happy and very supportive. Even the Liverpudlians accepted it was an opportunity. About the banners – we can talk about one, two people. You never know.”

On the ‘small club’ remark, he added: “It depends on the context. It was a long time ago. You are fighting for your club and that is what I will do now. I will fight for Everton.

“I will try to do my best every single game. I am really pleased this club is getting bigger every single day.”


Benitez managed Liverpool from 2004 to 2010, winning them a number of trophies including the Champions League in 2005. The Spaniard has managed a host of clubs since leaving Liverpool, including Chelsea and Newcastle in the Premier League, but retains an affiliation and affection for Liverpool the city, and still lives in the area.

He has been out of work since leaving Chinese side Dalian in January 2021.