December 6 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Rafael Benitez might face a hostile reception at Goodison Park this weekend but Everton boss David Moyes at least expects him to win over the Chelsea fans in time.
The Spaniard was a hugely unpopular choice with Chelsea supporters when he was named as Roberto Di Matteo’s successor as manager last month, due to his past dealings with the club when Liverpool boss.
It is for a similar reason he is despised by Everton followers, most pertinently because he once branded the Toffees as one of the Premier League’s “smaller teams”.
Yet in terms of performance, Benitez has started to turn around the form which prompted Di Matteo’s sacking with Chelsea having won six of their last seven games in all competitions.
Moyes said: “Results always change people’s minds - this is the business we are in. If you win, people can talk about you much better than they do if you lose.
“I think when you come into this business you know that’s how it works.”
While Benitez may not be welcomed by the majority inside Goodison tomorrow, Moyes is looking forward to renewing their rivalry.
The pair clashed 14 times during Benitez’s six-year spell at Anfield from 2004-10, with Moyes prevailing on only three occasions - all at home.
The Scot said: “It was always tough because Liverpool had a great team. It was always hard to get the better of them.
“They had a tremendous team, and still have. It was hard to try to win games against them, it really was.
“I think he always wanted to be in the Premier League. I think he enjoyed his stint here.
“I think, like a lot of people who come to the country, he enjoyed the honesty and the way the Premier League is played.
“I think he has bided his time to get another job. Good on him. He is at a very good club.”
Everton have finally shaken off their tag as slow starters after a strong first half of the campaign and can leapfrog Chelsea with victory over Benitez’s men.
If they can continue in the same vein for the rest of the term, they should be well in contention for a Champions League place.
Moyes said: “I think we have done okay. I think we have played well at times.
“I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get a few more victories when we maybe could.
“But we have been on a pretty good run and are pretty consistent in what we do. I can’t ask for an awful lot more. The players have done really well.”