Everton latest news: Fresh claim made over Rafa Benitez's future at Goodison Park

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Journalist Pete O’Rourke believes the ‘writing's on the wall’ for Rafa Benitez’s future if Everton continue to struggle over the festive period.

The Toffees got off to a fabulous start under the Spanish tactician’s tutelage, losing just one of their opening seven Premier League games of the season, but results have dipped in recent months.

What’s the situation at Everton?

Injuries to key players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure brutally exposed their lack of squad depth and over-reliance on individual talent.

A run of just one victory in 11 top-flight fixtures prior to their Boxing Day clash against Burnley has seen them score just eight goals and concede a whopping 22 in reply, highlighting their on-pitch issues.

Their current run of disastrous form has seen the Toffees slip from a European qualification spot down to 14th place, with Benitez’s charges hovering only eight points above the relegation zone.

As a result, the pressure has been mounting on the 61-year-old boss in recent weeks as the club’s supporters demand an upturn in results.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Benitez appears to have the backing of owner Farhad Moshiri for now, though, as former director of football Marcel Brands has left his previous position instead.

Nevertheless, O’Rourke believes the former Valencia, Liverpool and Napoli coach will need to stop the rot over the hectic Christmas schedule if he’s to remain in the Goodison Park hot seat in the long term.

What has O’Rourke said about Benitez?

The reporter believes an extended run of underwhelming results throughout the festive fixture pile-up could spell the end for Benitez’s short stint at the Everton helm.

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O’Rourke told GiveMeSport prior to their draw against Chelsea: “After such a bright start for Rafa Benitez, they’re only seven points above the relegation zone right now. Seven defeats in their last nine.

“If they have a bad Christmas, with more defeats, you’d say the writing's on the wall for Rafa.”

Can Benitez turn things around?

The Merseyside outfit are set to face Burnley, Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion in their next three outings, a run that could feasibly be job-defining for Benitez’s future.

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It’s hoped that star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be fit enough to make his long-awaited return to action imminently, providing a huge boost to Everton’s chances of securing a positive result.

Their draw at Stamford Bridge last time out will have injected a new wave of belief and optimism into the club, and Benitez must now harness that in the coming weeks.

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