Everton manager Rafael Benitez has got his players thinking positively again, according to journalist Paul Brown.
What has Brown said about Benitez?
Brown feels that many of Everton's first-team stars played within themselves last season under Carlo Ancelotti due to the Italian's negative style of play.
However, he has now claimed that Benitez has made a major difference to the mindset at the club since taking over earlier this summer, and this has led to the team making a bright start to the season.
Brown told GIVEMESPORT: “Probably the biggest thing is he’s got players being positive again. The way Andros Townsend smacks one in the top corner, you can just see he’s buzzing on confidence. He has someone who believes in him and has told him: ‘you can do this kind of thing, go and do it.’
“Demarai Gray, another one: ‘just go and play.’ He looks like he’s absolutely firing again. They’re enthusiastic, whereas, I think they’d retreated into their shells under Carlo last season because they had to play such negative, defensive football. It was very rigid, and ‘you must do this, you must do that.’”
How negative were Everton under Ancelotti last season?
The statistics make for pretty damning reading.
Everton were the lowest scorers in the top half by some distance in 2020/21 as they netted just 47 goals - Arsenal scored the next fewest, managing 55.
Indeed, Ancelotti's men failed to score in 10 of their 38 top-flight fixtures, so it was no wonder that they finished the campaign down in a disappointing 10th place.
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Can Benitez keep his team playing positively?
That is the key challenge that faces Benitez.
It is easy to forget that Everton actually started last season even better than they have done this time around. The Toffees collected maximum points from their opening four matches under Ancelotti, scoring 11 goals along the way, while with Benitez at the helm they have dropped two points and found the net 10 times.
It has undoubtedly been a positive start to Benitez's regime, but Everton must now look to kick on, something which they did not manage to do when Ancelotti was in the dugout.
As last season unfolded, Everton seemed to lose their way, and this ultimately cost them a place in Europe. If Benitez can keep driving home the message that his players need to take the game to the opposition, the side could have a much better season and secure a top seven finish in May.News Now - Sport News