Rafa Benitez rubbishes claims he is distant with his players

Rafa Benitez rubbishes claims he is distant with his players as Everton boss insists that treatment of Demarai Gray and Richarlison show he is NOT ice-cold

  • Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez has disputed claims that he is a difficult man to please 
  • The Spaniard said his relationship with Richarlison showed the notion is wrong 
  • Benitez hugged the Brazilian against Burnley and said they speak every day

Rafa Benitez insists the perception of him being distant with players is wrong and says his handling of Richarlison proves it.

The Spaniard has been said to have an icy veneer by some of those of who have played under him and that he is a hard man to please, rarely giving out compliments and preferring to concentrate on what can be improved.

But during Monday’s 3-1 beating of Burnley, Benitez gave Richarlison a hug after Everton had scored their third goal — and he made a point of making a fuss over the Brazilian again when he substituted him towards the end of the game.

Rafa Benitez (left) has claimed his relationship with Richarlison (right) proves he isn’t distant

It was evident that Richarlison wanted to stay on the pitch but Benitez, whose side face Aston Villa on Saturday evening, has spoken with him in recent days and says the pair are building a thriving relationship.

‘I think that perception is wrong,’ said Benitez. ‘We can talk about Demarai Gray or Andros Townsend or even Michael Keane.

‘I talk with my players every day about anything. With Richarlison I was talking the other day about Ronaldo — the Brazilian player — Socrates, Garrincha, even his dogs.

‘You try to be sure you understand your players and in this case we talked about Brazilian players, ones he maybe doesn’t know as well as ones he does know. I think that’s normal.

‘As a manager you have to bring the best from your players and that is the way for me.’

Benitez spoke with Richarlison after subbing him against Burnley but said they get on well

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