Rafael Benitez is sensitive to the sentiments of Everton supporters who made it clear they oppose his appointment as manager.
The Spaniard is confident that he can overcome his doubters by delivering results on the pitch, and he applied for the job. Benitez's appointment comes 11 years after leaving Liverpool where he was manager for six years, winning the Champions League as well as the FA Cup.
Farhad Moshiri, Everton's owner, has ignored protestor unrest. The 61-year old signed a three year contract to succeed Carlo Ancelotti after the Italian quit his position to go to Real Madrid.
Benitez took over as Madrid manager from Ancelotti in 2015. He was sacked seven months later. His bond with Merseyside, which he became the fifth permanent boss of the Toffees in the same period, has resulted in a mixed reception by Everton fans.
Benitez was convinced by the club's history, ambition and success. He reportedly rejected offers from two Serie A clubs that made a return to Premier League his priority. Sky Sports evaluates the list that awaits Benitez at Goodison Park...
You can win over your fanbase
Image: Everton fans will be back in large numbers at Goodison Park
Everton fans will be happy to see the end of a long-running story that saw many names associated with the vacancy. Many feel it has come to an unsatisfactory end.
Benitez, who is now out of work after leaving Chinese club Dalian Professional in January last year, will be the first man to manage both Liverpool and Everton since William Edward Barclay, 1890s.
Initial talks were held with Nuno Espirito Sante, David Moyes was also discussed before he committed his future and West Ham to him. Christophe Galtier, former Lille boss was also in the mix to take over.
After Ancelotti proved that he isn't a project manager Benitez will be able to guide Everton into the state-of the-art stadium in 2024. This will mark a new era for this club.
1:28 Everton supporters are still divided about Rafael Benitez, former Liverpool manager, being appointed their new manager, Sky Sports' News' Vinny Olson reports.
Benitez is aware that this is a place where he will be judged quickly. While he will need to communicate his methods and style to his players over time, his Liverpool connections mean that the supporters will not allow him much room.
Disgruntled fans have held up sinister banners at Goodison Park as well as outside his Wirral home. After a promising year under Ancelotti, Everton will enter the new league campaign with no European football.
After those hopes have faded, supporters will look for a sustained challenge and the Spaniard should be able to meet those demands quickly enough.
Rafa Benitez CV Valencia : La Liga (2002, 2004, UEFA Cup (2003)
Liverpool: Champions League 2005, Super Cup 2005, FA Cup (2006) and Community Shield (2006)
Inter Milan: Italian Super Cup (2010) and Club World Cup (2010)
Chelsea: Europa League (2013)
Coppa Italia (2014), Napoli Super Cup (2014)
Newcastle: Championship (2017)
Benitez in quotes - How he made his bed
3:40 Victor Anichebe believes that Benitez's arrival will make Everton fans unhappy
Since 2004, the Benitez family has called Merseyside home. His community work to fund children's projects and his support for the Hillsborough Families reflect his emotional attachment to the city.
However, his comments from February 2007, after a draw at Anfield between Liverpool and Everton, have been widely circulated since the announcement of his appointment...
"I was disappointed because one team wanted the win and one didn't want it to end. Everton had eight to nine men behind the ball, and they defended well. But that's what small clubs do.
"When a team arrives at Anfield and wants a point, what else can you call them than a small club?"
1:48 Benitez was a special guests on Monday Night Football in Dezember 2019 and clarified a comment that he made about Everton while he was Liverpool manager, February 2007.
He was out of management and appeared as a special guest on Monday Night Football December 2019.
"I made an error when I said it was small. They are a small club because they only had one chance in this match.
"Liverpool fans were happy, and Evertonians were disappointed. However, I did not want to call them a small club. I just wanted to say that they were a small group.
"Some Evertonians come to me and tell about what I did for their city, we have charity and all that, so I have a very strong connection with the city and not just Liverpool fans."
Make your identity.
Image: Everton's inconsistency was due to his lack of identity
It's clear that Ancelotti's departure dragged Everton's ambitions to the ground. This was a big blow for Moshiri who had seen the Italian as the ideal figurehead to lead Everton and the 'Hollywood manager' he desired.
However, even if you take away his fame as one of the most admired and decorated players in world football, it was difficult for the three-time Champions League champion to establish a distinct identity for the first team. Although there were some minor improvements, it is difficult to pinpoint his legacy for those not involved in the club.
Everton's hierarchy was left stunned by the rapidity of his departure. Benitez will now be responsible for bringing stability to Everton after five years of huge outlay and little in return.
Roberto Martinez, the club's former manager, was the most popular. He embodied the club's core values and a positive playing style.
Benitez has been given the keys to Everton's Future. He will be expected create a distinct identity that is more than short-termism.
Make Goodison a fortress
Image: Everton were defeated nine times at home in the league last term
Last season saw Everton produce some shocking home performances, with the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United being the lowest point. Everton's 10th place finish was due to their 11 away wins. However, Ancelotti never looked like addressing the problems at Goodison Park.
Benitez, despite his past affiliations, will try to make the most of the supporters' support from the start next season. This will ensure that, should poor home results continue, Benitez won't be able to offer any excuse to compensate for any early scrutiny.
When Everton was the focus, the performances were often disjointed. Therefore, it is important to address the creative gap in squad surgery.
Transform your squad
Image: Cenk Tosun has one year left on his contract, but is currently injured
Ancelotti had met with the board shortly after the season ended for a meeting on transfer strategy. Many of these transfer targets should be maintained - regardless of Benitez's departure - if the model as a director is fully functional.
The current incumbent will ultimately have to decide which underperformers from last season should be discarded.
Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Ben Godfrey were all purchased last summer. However, the new manager will have to make his own judgement on those who are still not convinced they are the right quality. Fabian Delph and Bernard, as well as Andre Gomes, fall into this category.
There are also those who the new manager must assess, whether they are returning from injury or loan deals. These include Cenk Tosun and Anthony Gordon, Ellis Simms, Moise Kean, Ellis Simms, and Moise Kan.
Although there has been talk about the possibility of him staying at Paris Saint-Germain for a longer period, it has proved difficult to generate additional funds by offloading more collateral deadwood from high wages in previous regimes.
Find the right backroom staff
Image: Duncan Ferguson will continue to coach
Six members of Everton’s coaching staff were with Ancelotti when he left Finch Farm. Davide Ancelotti was his son. Francesco Mauri and Simeone Montanaro, Simeone Montanaro and Manuel Morabito, along with Mino Fulco, also headed to Madrid.
There are many new relationships to forge, including the chief executive Denise BarrettBaxendale and the chairman Bill Kenwright. Benitez will be looking to bring his team in the same manner Ancelotti did to create a more familiar work environment.
His long-serving personal trainer Paco De Miguel will join him, as well as his assistant Antonio Gomez. Although decisions will have to be made, Duncan Ferguson, first-team coach and Alan Kelly, goalkeeping coach, will continue to assist with the transition.
Benitez tends to appoint assistant manager with a connection from previous clubs. He has called upon Sammy Lee at Liverpool, and Bolo Zenden in Chelsea. Ferguson was considered for No 1, but the Scot was the only constant in the five incumbents under Moshiri, and his presence will help to calm a divided fanbase.
Get a quick start for a new season
0:54 Former Everton defender Phil Jagielka believes Rafael Benitez must get off to an encouraging start as Everton manager.
There is very little time to waste. The first-team squad members who were not at the European Championships will be expected to return to Finch Farm on July 5, ahead of their preseason tour of the United States.
Benitez will be keen to have as many Euro 2020 participants at his disposal before he and his team travel to Orlando. Everton will be competing in the Florida Cup at Campground World Stadium against Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Millonarios FC on July 25-28.
Everton surprised everyone by being the pace-setters in the early stages of last term. They won seven games in all competitions, and Ancelotti was awarded manager of the month for September.
It will be hard to identify what worked 12 month ago and replicate those conditions with a new head coach, but players have an obligation to share the lessons they learned from the preparations and conditioning that helped them so well.
Establish a working relationship between Brands
Image: Marcel Brands was not always in agreement with Carlo Ancelotti regarding targets
Ancelotti and Marcel Brands did not always agree to transfer targets under the old regime. This was a major drawback that only got worse over time. If Everton is to bridge the gap between the elite and the average, then the new manager must agree with the director of football.
While Ancelotti's departure cannot be criticized, Brands was sometimes repressed during his 18-month tenure at Everton. Doucoure was a long-term goal, but James Rodriguez (and Allan) were hired on the Italian's advice despite them both being close to 30.
From the beginning, Joshua King was clearly not a player Ancelotti liked. He joined on loan and lasted for just 11 minutes.
King spoke to Norwegian outlet Dagbladet, saying: "He lied about me. Ancelotti was not a friend of mine. "I had no idea that I would be banned from starting one in 18 games."
It was a surprising revelation for supporters but it didn't reflect well upon the club. With Benitez in charge, the locals will expect more collaboration.
Calvert-Lewin is the place to be!
Image: Dominic Calvert Lewin scored 21 goals in the last term
Ancelotti's greatest success was his ability to assist Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has become an English international. He scored a record 21 goals last season for Everton.
Under his former manager, the striker was able to hit the ground running, scoring the winning goal against Burnley in his first match. He also scored 16 goals in his 18 games for country and club.
He scored nine more goals in the next 30 matches. This drop-off coincided with him drifting deeper to connect play and midfield. He was unable to play at Euro 2020, and was therefore completely absent from Gareth Southgate’s squad for the win over Germany.
Ancelotti has been made into a penalty-box predator and Ancelotti's successor needs to look at getting Calvert-Lewin back on track, using him to be the center of an exciting new team.
James Rodriguez Resolution
Benitez must make a decision about James Rodriguez.
The former Real Madrid playermaker was at times a different level than his peers last season, which is why he was once one the most sought-after players in world football. His stardust was sprinkled in the early stages of this campaign, helping Everton win four league fixtures.
A generation of Evertonians was treated to a new style of play thanks to his cross-field diagonals, and the ability to see what others couldn't.
Everton has found that Rodriguez's problem is not on the pitch but off it. Benitez will be hoping that the Colombian international is fit to continue his career if he chooses to keep him. There can't be passengers.
Rodriguez only started 21 of 38 league games. Ancelotti had to manage the talented technician through repeated calf problems.
The demands of the Premier League are something that the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner has struggled with. It remains to be seen if he can keep up the pace as he approaches his thirtyth birthday.
Pace, pace and pace
Image: Alex Iwobi is an uncommon outlet for pace in the squad
Everton needed pace last season. Their approach play was too slow and predictable. They were a counter-attacking team, but they lacked the spark, dynamism, and speed that such play requires.
Their form was affected, especially at home. Ancelotti acknowledged that Everton had struggled to win games last season when it was their turn.
Ancelotti stated that the analysis of the season would be crucial in recruiting new players, with just two games remaining.
"We must also consider the away run that we had. We had 21 games planned to be strong defensively, use counter-attack and be strong on set pieces. We won 14 of these 21 games with sacrifice.
Image: Everton spent more than 550m under Farhad Moshiri
"And 15 games that we tried to play differently - build up, put more people in front, more players between the lines – and only two of these 15 games won."
This could be explained by a lack in pace in the attacking third. Everton was unable to unlock teams at Goodison and ended up with the league's 15th best home record, winning only six games.
Everton was 12th in the Premier League for metres per second. This is a reflection of how much there is to be done in order to build up attacks and inject more urgency.
Brands will prioritise the attack third, along with a right back, during his summer recruitment drive.
Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers
"Of course football fans can be overly passionate at times. The Merseyside rivalry, to put it mildly, is intense and this is the first occasion that anyone has managed both clubs.
"This appointment was always going be controversial and it was always going encourage a fierce Backlash from Everton fans.
"But, if you take the emotion and heat out of the decision and consider the fact that it is an unnecessary nomination, many people around Everton Football Club believe that there are other candidates that would not have to be subjected to the same scrutiny and pressure as this one.
Here's Alan Myers' reporter notebook
Image: Moise Kan impressed during his time at PSG
Although the transfer window opened June 9, Everton saw early promise wane. What can Everton do to make this summer's offer more attractive?
Everton will look to provide Calvert-Lewin with more coverage this summer, following King's January departure from Bournemouth.
The club will decide on Kean's future after he completed a successful loan spell at Paris Saint-Germain without any option to purchase.
After his long season-long loan, Robin Olsen is now back in Roma. Although the Sweden international was able to provide support for Jordan Pickford last season, the club will have to find another understudy.
Ancelotti also wanted a successor to Seamus Coleman as club captain since last summer. Norwich right-back Max Aarons was on their shortlist, and is available for 30m.
Theo Walcott has moved to Southampton, but Everton have sold Yannick Bolasie to make room for another attacking wide player. This will provide competition in the forward line.