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That was one instruction Carlo Ancelotti gave his Everton team last season, according to a report in The Athletic after the Italian upped and left for Real Madrid.
“Long balls, long balls,”
This was the command from Ronald Koeman before his final game in charge against Arsenal. His players were baffled. There was no target man on the training pitch but a plethora of number 10s he wanted to bypass.
“You're given your roles, you're supposed to understand them and if you don't, find out, think for yourself.”
This was Leon Osman, writing in his autobiography on Roberto Martinez’s approach.
“Why would we spend two hours standing around… when we could work on moving the ball?”
And this was the response from Graeme Jones, Martinez’s assistant, when Everton’s players asked why they weren’t working on defending set-pieces, according to Osman.
Vague, hazy, even listless, careless.
It seems in the last decade the Toffees have had a long list of coaches who have not been thorough enough in their teaching, not diligent enough in ensuring their players are 100% ready for game day; managers not prepared to go to the nth degree to give the team the very best possible chance of victory.
Until now, it is hoped.
Already, at home and Stateside for the Florida Cup, Rafa Benitez appears to be a very hands-on coach.
One image this summer has shown the Spaniard with an arm around Ben Godfrey. Another is Benitez pointing something out to young winger Anthony Gordon. Others show him deep in conversation with Alex Iwobi, Andre Gomes and new boy Andros Townsend.
Of course, there will be shots of Martinez, Koeman and Ancelotti in similar poses, but Benitez wants to teach, he wants his players to learn and to pass on his massive knowledge.
He wants to be a mentor they can trust and rely on.
“It is crucial for players to feel you care about them and want to improve them – and that you can do it,” Benitez told evertontv.
“I have passion one-on-one when I coach them. I think they can feel this passion and will try to make sure next time they can do this or that.
“I go to the head. I want them to think, not just to tell them, ‘You have to do that’.
“It is more, ‘Think about that, do you think it is right or wrong?’
“Give them the chance to find the solution, so they will learn for the future.
“Fundamentally, if you want to improve your team, improve the individuals, then improve the mentality of all of them together.”
With this outlook, there is no confusion, no befuddlement, less chance for error.
Players are taught and then helped by Benitez to learn, grasp and master tactics, routines and game plans.
Earning a physical education degree and working as a PE teacher while playing for Real Madrid’s reserves, he became a coach when a knee problem cut short his playing career at just 26 and so he has all of the credentials to teach this Everton side to success.
“I am a coach and a professional teacher,” Benitez explained. “I had kids with different levels and had to improve them, to teach them and make them better in one way or another.
“With players, it is similar. You try to create an atmosphere where they are keen to learn.
“If you have to; show videos, stay with them after training analysing the body shape, the movement depending on whether the ball is in defence or attack.
“I like doing these things. When we finish every training session, they have to be sure they learned a little bit – 0.5 per cent [improvement] in one training session.
“Put all the training sessions together and they will be better players... then we have the chance to win more games.”
Benitez works tirelessly to ensure the players know exactly what to do.
There are no blunt orders or blurred demands.
Just clear and concise instructions and learning together to improve Everton each day.
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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sports/football/rafa-benitez-gives-everton-something-they-didnt-have-with-carlo-ancelotti-and-ronald-koeman/ar-AAMPDvF4264