Rafael Benitez might not have received a warm welcome when he was appointed as Everton manager due to his past tenure at archrivals Liverpool, but the Spaniard’s recent tactical mastership has managed to bring the skeptic Toffes fans around.
Everton has lost just one of Benitez’s first seven Premier League games in charge despite a limited budget due to financial fair-play restrictions and injuries to star strikers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
A 1-1 draw away to Manchester United kept Benitez’s men level on points with the Red Devils and Liverpool and one in front of Manchester City ahead of the champions’ trip to Anfield on Sunday.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could afford the luxury of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba on as substitutes, while Benitez had to name three teenagers to fill out his bench.
But a point was the least the visitors deserved from a performance that married the defensive organization Benitez’s sides are famous for with a potent threat on the counterattack.
Everton’s goal showed the impact the 61-year-old has had in just a few months in charge.
After an Everton outlay of 240 million pounds ($325 million) in transfer fees over the past three years, Benitez’s spending was limited to 1.7 million pounds to bring in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend during the transfer window.