Rafa Benitez likes to fight - now he has to for first time as Everton boss after Watford thrashing

The Toffees boss has come under scrutiny following the sobering 5-2 loss.

For the first time in Rafa Benitez's reign, all fours stands were awash of empty seats before the final whistle.

After Josh King came back to haunt his former club by rounding off his hat-trick, Everton fans headed for the turnstiles in their droves. They had seen enough.

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They'd had to endure an embarrassing second-half capitulation on their own patch.

Having led twice, the Toffees completely crumbled. It was the paragon of a defensive horror show.

Most who stayed until the bitter end probably only did so they could let their frustration known at full-time. A chorus of boos rang around Goodison Park. The supporters wanted to let their team know that performance wasn't acceptable.

Josh King celebrates scoring for Watford against Everton. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Everton's back four have faced plenty of the flak. Centre-backs Ben Godfrey and Michael Keane were well below par, as was Lucas Digne. Seamus Coleman wasn't much better.

What's more, Rafa Benitez is starting to face serious scrutiny for the first time as Toffees boss.

The Spaniard had his detractors when appointed due to his past across Stanley Park.

A barnstorming opening helped win over many of his knockers as he brought back an identity back along with a connection with supporters.

After back-to-back home defeats, however, reaching a nadir in a sobering loss to a side who were in the Championship last season, it feels like some of Benitez's good work has become unstitched.

There were decisions throughout the game that have understandably been questioned.

When Richarlison emerged from the dugout to make his return from injury, those in the stands couldn't be more pleased. At 1-1, they needed a fillip and the Brazilian - who scored three minutes after being introduced - would provide that.

Yet that elation when it was clear Richarlison was coming on was tempered after the number 24 went up on the fourth official's board. It was Anthony Gordon who was being sacrificed, which incensed plenty.

The academy graduate had been Everton's chief attacking threat, engineering Tom Davies' third-minute opening with a piercing run from deep inside his own half.

Anthony Gordon celebrates after Tom Davies opened the scoring for Everton against Watford. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

To take off Gordon was harsh although, to Benitez's credit, he was right to say it wasn't the reason behind the loss.

Still, many would have preferred that it was instead Salomon Rondon brought off.

The striker was mildly better than his abject display against West Ham United but scarcely looked like scoring against Watford. That's now seven games without a goal for the summer transfer deadline day recruit.

Evertonians are beginning to get frustrated that Benitez continues to persist with Rondon and some would now like to see youngster Lewis Dobbin handed an opportunity from the outset.

And a long-standing criticism of Benitez, which stemmed when he was Liverpool manager, has started to crop up again.

Many Reds fans rued his stubbornness to use zonal marking from set-pieces and it proved a problem against Watford.

Juraj Kucka celebrates scoring for Watford against Everton. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

King's first goal stemmed from a free-kick and Juraj Kucka's header to make it 2-2 was from a corner. Then moments later, Kucka was left in acres of space from another corner but nodded wide when he should have done better.

Benitez said he likes to fight after his appointment, knowing he was not every Evertonian's first choice.

Let’s be frank, because of the confinements of a tight budget and having a slim squad, he’s not had things straightforward.

His hands were tied during the summer transfer window having a lack of funds and being unable to offload some higher earners.

Even still, now Benitez has to pull up his sleeves and come up with the solution to ensure a collapse like that never happens again.