Steven Gerrard has expressed his disappointment for Rafael Benitez following his Everton sacking, but admits he was shocked his former Liverpool boss was willing to work at Goodison Park.
Benitez oversaw a run of just one Premier League win in 13 games between October and January, with Everton’s 2-1 defeat at Norwich last weekend proving to be the final straw for owner Farhad Moshiri.
The Spaniard did enjoy a strong start to his reign, leading Everton to four wins from their first six league matches, but he struggled to win over a number of the club‘s fans given his long association with Liverpool.
Benitez – with Gerrard as his captain – coached Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 and memorably led them to Champions League glory in 2005 and an FA Cup success the following season.
Speaking before his first visit to Goodison Park as a manager on Saturday, Gerrard admitted his surprise at Everton’s decision to appoint Benitez, saying: “I’m disappointed for Rafa because obviously I’ve got a relationship and I’ve got an awful lot of respect for him.
“I have to be honest, I thought it was a unique appointment at the time. I was surprised and shocked that Rafa wanted to go and have a go at that job. With his legacy and his relationship with Liverpool, that was a surprise.
“Obviously it hasn’t worked out for whatever reasons. You’d have to be inside the club to know why, which is none of my business.”