The coach of Everton, Rafael Benitez has agreed that the 1-1 draw his team recorded at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, December 17, 2021, is his team’s most important result.
Ahead of the Premier League game, Rafael Benitez confirmed that most of the club’s senior players are battling injuries while some of them are battling different degrees of illnesses.
Top on the list of Everton players that could not travel with Everton to Stamford Bridge included the club’s star players Richarlison, Seamus Coleman, and Andros Townsend. They sustained different degrees of injuries during the club’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Sunday, December 12.
Also, Dominic Calvert-Lewin could not travel with Everton as he is struggling to recover from his lingering injury. While Lucas Digne was sidelined due to an undisclosed illness.
In the absence of these superstar players, the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, became the club’s starman as he ensured that he frustrated Chelsea’s attempts to score.
He was able to hold the home team down until the 70th minute before Mason Mount scored what ought to be the winning goal.
But Everton had a different idea. The club was given a free-kick very close to the eighteen-yard box. Unfortunately for coach Thomas Tuchel’s boys, Jarrad Branthwaite was on ground to knock home Anthony Gordon’s free kick in the 74th minute of the match.
After that, the teams could not do much. Chelsea had a couple of chances to bury the game but were not clinical enough to do the needful. Hence, their 23 shots, 10 on target could only produce a goal which was not enough for the maximum three points.
The draw was enough to temporarily silence some of the Everton fans that have been flying the “Refael Out” banner.
At the end of the game, when coach Rafael Benitez was asked whether that was his most important result at Everton, the coach replied: “You can say that, because we have so many issues, with injuries, with illness.
“The way the team played, reacted when we conceded, showed character. It’s a great point, not just the point but the way we claimed it. Everyone realized how important and how difficult it was afterward.
“Great character is shown, we are coming back in a lot of games. The way they worked we deserved something. We have had too much bad luck with injuries. The reaction of the team was fantastic.”
On the other hand, coach Thomas Tuchel was not as excited as coach Rafael Benitez was about the 1-1 draw. The German tactician whose team failed to close up the gap on the league table described the outcome of the game as a “freak result”.
“It was a freak result for this type of match,” the coach said.
“We were strong enough today and I’m not sure right now why we get punished. We see teams concede more chances than we do but we only have a draw.
“I am concerned we have too many players out; today six or seven players. I think this at the moment is the problem, one of the key problems. In central midfield, for eight weeks. For today we had our strikers out and that was the case for four weeks with Timo (Werner) and Romelu (Lukaku) out.
“We need to find the balance, be honest, critical with each other, but accept sometimes we get punished for not a lot.
“I would be more concerned if we were totally out of form, conceding the first goal and then struggling to come back. It would be easier to analyze. I don’t think it’s too easy to analyze our situation.”
The 1-1 draw has left Chelsea on the third spot with 37 points in 17 games, three points below second-placed Liverpool, and four points below first-placed Manchester City. As for Everton, they are currently sitting on the 14th spot on the league table with 19 points in 17 games.
"The effort we needed to score one goal, and the effort the opponent needed to score… It's hard to swallow."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 16, 2021
"We missed a lot of big chances."
Thomas Tuchel reflects on a frustrating night for Chelsea at home to Everton.
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