Rafa Benitez explains what went wrong and why he took Anthony Gordon off in Everton’s 5-2 thrashing to Watford

The youngster’s withdrawl was met by frustration from plenty of fans inside Goodison Park as the Toffees capitulated in the second half.

Rafa Benitez has explained why he brought off Anthony Gordon in Everton' s sobering 5-2 loss to Watford.

The academy graduate was one of the Toffees' brightest performers and engineered Tom Davies' third-minute opener.

Sign up to our LiverpoolWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘I don’t like to make excuses’

Gordon was brought off on the hour mark for Richarlison, with his withdrawal being met by boos from large sections of supporters.

Richarlison did put Everton 2-1 ahead before they crumbled in defence.

Asked why Gordon was brought off by LiverpoolWorld, Benitez said: “I don't like to explain because it sounds like: ‘Oh he's making an excuse’. I don't like to make an excuse.

“The two substitutions, one was because Demarai (Gray) has a cold and we knew he couldn't play 90 minutes and Anthony the same.

“With Anthony, I'm really pleased I put him on the pitch like I did against Manchester United but we know that he does not have 90 minutes at this level yet because we know he needs to improve his stamina.

“He was doing OK, for me has was playing a good game but we thought we needed Richarlison because he can score goals.

“He came on the pitch, scored a goal and that's it. He did what he had to do, if it's fine and you finish winning the game then everyone says it's a great substitution.

“We made mistakes in defence, we can talk about that. That (Gordon coming off) wasn't the key point in the game, the key point was our mistakes.”

What went wrong?

Josh King came back to haunt his former club with a hat-trick, having failed to net in his 11 Everton appearances last season, while Juraj Kucka and Emmanuel Dennis were also on target for Watford.

On what went wrong for the Toffees, Benitez said: “We were ahead and then start making mistake after mistake and concede too many goals in a few minutes.

“We couldn’t manage the situation that was in our favour with the second goal.

“Richarlison comes on the pitch, he scores, the fans were behind the team, everything was positive then we start making mistakes.

“We gave them a chance to have a goal from a corner where we could have done better and then the counter-attack.

“Every time they got the ball, we were in a bad position or making a mistake, giving them more confidence and belief on the counter-attack.”