Rafael Benitez explains why he substituted Richarlison after he was booed by Everton fans for doing so

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Rafael Benitez had a very rough day on Sunday, December 12, 2021, when he led Everton to Selhurst Park to play against Crystal Palace that had suffered three defeats in a row before the game.

Despite Crystal Palace’s poor form in their last three Premier League games, Everton struggled from the first half of the game until the final whistle.

Rafael Benitez’s woes started in the game when Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher scored a 41st-minute goal to give the host a first-half lead.

In the 58th minute of the second half, Rafael Benitez decided to substitute Richarlison for Salomon Rondon, a decision that the club’s fans were so angry about that they had to boo their coach.

The fans’ agitation was inspired by their belief that Richarlison could turn the 1-0 deficit around in favor of Everton as he did on Monday, December 6, when he scored one of the goals that gave Everton a 2-1 win over Arsenal.

Richarlison who has scored three Premier League goals and provided two assists in 11 games for Everton so far this season showed to the coach that he was not happy to be substituted.

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Even after the 24-year-old Brazilian striker left the pitch to the touchline, and the coach tried to console him, the striker still could not hold back his displeasure.

A few minutes after Richarlison’s exit from the game, James Tomkins scored in the 62nd minute to double Crystal Palace’s lead.

Coach Rafael Benitez’s decision to introduce Rondon into the game paid off in the 70th minute when the football star scored Everton’s only goal of the match.

While Everton were trying to get back to the game and probably leave Selhurst Park with at least a point, Gallagher made it 3-1 in favor of Crystal Palace in the 93rd minute.

After the game, coach Rafael Benitez told Sky Sports that he had to substitute Richarlison because the Brazilian striker was having a calf problem.

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According to the coach, he and the rest of the team realized that the Brazilian football star has a calf problem at half-time but they decided to observe the situation for five minutes before he was substituted.

“Richarlison has a problem in his calf, we knew that at half-time,” Benitez said.

“We were thinking about changing him but we didn’t do it as we gave him five minutes to see how he was. We didn’t want him to get injured with so many games and he was not affecting the game, so you make the substitution as you know what is going on.

“But you can’t explain that all the time. I’m disappointed that the people don’t realize that you make the substitutions and they go well, as Rondon was a key player for us with the way he held the ball. Richarlison wasn’t helping when he was moving his arms when he knew at half-time we were going to give him five minutes to see how he was.

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“He said at half-time, ‘give me five minutes and we’ll see how I’m getting on’ – I can’t explain that to every fan what is going on.”

The 3-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace has pushed Everton to the 14th spot on the league table with 18 points in 16 games, 7 points away from the relegation zone. While Crystal Palace are now sitting on the 12th spot with 19 points in 16 games.

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