Rafa Benitez hits back at angry fans as Everton slump to another defeat

The Toffees boss has defended his decision to take off Brazilian forward Richarlison with Everton trailing at Crystal Palace.

<p>Richarlison leaves the pitch after being substituted off by Everton’s Spanish manager Rafael Beni­tez. Photo: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images</p>

Richarlison leaves the pitch after being substituted off by Everton’s Spanish manager Rafael Beni­tez. Photo: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

Everton suffered the seventh defeat from their last nine Premier League games as they lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

There was no Lucas Digne in the side once again following his reported disagreement with Rafa Benitez and the manager’s decision to bring off Richarlison in the 57th minute at Selhurst Park was greeted with boos from the travelling faithful.

The Brazilian forward came into the match in fine form - having scored in the 2-1 win over Arsenal last time out - and Everton were 1-0 down at the time.

However, Benitez insisted the change was made due to the Richarlison having a slight calf injury and pointed out that his replacement, Salomon Rondon, scored to make it 2-1 to give Everton hope before Conor Gallagher netted his second of the game to secure the win for Palace in added time.

Salomon Rondon of Everton scores v Crystal Palace. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Benitez defends Richarlison decision

The Toffees boss said: “Richarlison had a calf [problem] and at half-time we were thinking about making the substitution.

“He was saying, ‘No, I will try!’ but after it was clear for us that he couldn’t.

“The reality is that it is a pity because we did not want to lose another striker, with Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] still not available.”

Benitez added: "When you are disappointed because the team is not doing well, you can be emotional and react but the reality is we made this substitution and we were right.

"Rondon came on, was holding the ball up and giving us something more.

"After he scored the goal but we try to do the best for the team every time. We make mistakes but we know the players, know how they are and try to make the right decisions."

Benitez on costly Everton mistakes

On the result which leaves Everton in 14th position, Benitez added: "When we were controlling, we make a mistake and concede the first goal.

"Second goal, another mistake. Third goal, another mistake. Good reaction with our goal, we have our chances and we didn’t take our chances."

The pressure is now mounting on Benitez, who is the 1-4 favourite with bookies to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked.