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Gary Neville remains bemused over the Everton’s season

‘Everton are the mystery of the season’: Gary Neville remains mystified by the Toffees’ season after suggesting they will be their big winners at the start of the campaign and gives a blunt assessment of Rafa Benítez’s sacking

  • Gary Neville had predicted that Everton would be the winners this season
  • Everton flew close to the sun and came close to relegation in a dismal campaign
  • Neville admits he was wrong and says he hoped Rafa Benítez would do better
  • Benítez was fired in January after a streak that saw a victory since September.
  • He brought in Frank Lampard and, despite a difficult run, he kept them up.

Gary Neville has suggested that it remains an “absolute mystery” how Everton’s season under Rafa Benítez went so wrong.

The Toffees won four of their first six games with the Spaniard before he was sacked in January following a run that included just one win since September.

Neville, who was speaking the Overlaphe had suggested Everton would be the big winners of 2021/22 before crashing and burning spectacularly only to survive relegation by the skin of his teeth.

Rafa Benítez's mandate did not end well: the fans rebelled against him.

Rafa Benítez’s mandate did not end well: the fans rebelled against him.

His appointment was controversial, but Gary Neville hoped it would work, initially

His appointment was controversial, but Gary Neville hoped it would work, initially

The former Manchester United fullback said: ‘I had them as my big winners. I just thought that Benítez is such a stable and constant player that he would take them to eighth place, where Wolves and West Ham are, I thought he would do that to them.

“He’s not the best to watch sometimes, but he usually organizes and gets a group of players together.

‘I couldn’t believe how bad it went. [Manchester] United and Everton are the mystery (sic) of the season for me, absolute mystery (sic)’.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goal against Crystal Palace last week ensured Everton's survival

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal against Crystal Palace last week ensured Everton’s survival

He went on to add that he “knew” it would eventually go wrong for Benitez, who has a history of acrimonious relationships with people in the game, but he didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

“Benitez has that access to agents to get players and I thought he could do it on his own,” he said.

I had been to Newcastle where there was a toxic environment and I thought it was perfect for dealing with a difficult club like Everton. I knew at some point it would go wrong, but I never thought it would happen so fast.

Gary Neville said Everton's season was still a

Gary Neville said Everton’s season remained a “mystery” to him after its decent start.

He went on to discuss Everton’s seemingly baffling decision to offload Lucas Digne on Benítez’s instructions, with the player and manager falling out, only to then fire Benítez a few days later.

‘That was a surprise,’ said Neville. “Selling him and then firing Benítez was incredible.

‘That just told you how bad it was. They sold Digne, fired the coach three days later and got rid of one of his best players.

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