Everton Sacks Manager Rafa Benítez With Club Hovering Above Relegation Zone

The Toffees are now looking for their seventh head coach in six years.

Everton sacked manager Rafa Benítez on Sunday following a 2-1 defeat at Norwich City which left the Merseyside club six points above the Premier League relegation zone in 16th place, after 19 matches.

Appointed six months ago, the former Liverpool manager was a controversial choice for Everton supporters and after a promising start to the season his side slid down the table.

"Benítez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect," Everton said in a statement. "An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course."

The pressure began to mount on Benítez after a 4-1 humbling by his former club at the start of December as Everton suffered their heaviest home Merseyside derby league defeat in 39 years. Everton's Director of football Marcel Brands left his role after being confronted by supporters as he left the director's box following that loss and there have been reports of conflicts elsewhere in the club.

Everton have won just once in the Premier League since September and traveling supporters at Carrow Road turned their anger on the Spaniard and the club's board at the end of their defeat by Norwich.

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Former Real Madrid and Valencia boss Benítez is the latest manager to have failed to live up to expectations at Goodison Park and they are now looking for their seventh head coach in six years. Since current Belgium manager Roberto Martínez left the club in 2016, Everton have turned to Dutchman Ronald Koeman, Englishman Sam Allardyce, Portugal's Marco Silva and Italian Carlo Ancelotti before Benítez's brief reign.

Under British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri's ownership, Everton have invested heavily in players for all those managers but results have remained disappointing. The club, who are building a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, have not finished in the top six since 2014.

The 61-year-old Benítez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, returned to the Premier League after a spell in China followed his time at Newcastle United.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)

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