Everton must take collective responsibility for Brighton defeat, says under-fire manager Rafael Benitez | Football News

Everton manager Rafael Benitez blamed other mistakes over the 3-2 home defeat to Brighton, but insisted it was not the time to “point the finger”.

Brighton led 2-0 in 21 minutes thanks to goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Dan Burn and, while Everton Academy graduate Anthony Gordon scored his first goals for the club, Mac’s second Allister in their midst was enough for the visitors.

Compounding matters, Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed a 2-0 penalty in his first appearance since August.

Everton have only won once in their last 12 games and are not helping each other as they have conceded the first goal 14 times in 20 games this season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Brighton’s victory over Everton

“We have shown character in many games and played well in many games, but we are unable to avoid mistakes that cost games,” said Benitez.

“We started slowly, we conceded a goal and after another mistake we conceded a corner kick. It’s not easy when you make these mistakes and then after a missed penalty it’s even more difficult.”

Brighton’s second goal saw the unmarked Burn go home after a throw-in at the near post and Benitez is furious.

“What I can tell you is that we were training specifically on these corners and how to defend ourselves and we made too many mistakes,” he added.

Pressure is growing on Rafael Benitez at Everton
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Pressure is growing on Rafael Benitez at Everton

“We made a mistake and we know how, and we know what we have to do, but it’s not the time to point the finger. We have to take responsibility as a group.”

The Spaniard also defended his decision to choose right-back Seamus Coleman on the left of a five-man defense and leave Lucas Digne, who looks set to leave after a disagreement with Benitez and the arrival of Ukrainian international Vitaliy Mykolenko.

“The most important thing for me is to have players who want to be there and fight for the club and for their teammates, after which you have to choose the best possible,” he said.

Potter greets Mac Allister determinedly

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Brighton boss Graham Potter says his side showed resilience in 3-2 win over Everton

Brighton boss Graham Potter heard their first win at Goodison Park closed a significant week for the club in which they took seven points from three games.

“Three fantastic points. Great start to the new year, a great final for a very important week for us after three points against Brentford and one point against Chelsea,” he said.

“Historically it is not a good place for us to come as a club.

“I thought I played well in the first half and then the goal we didn’t want changed the atmosphere on the pitch and you have to see it and we did it pretty well.”

On Mac Allister’s contribution he added: “Very happy for him. Three games (played) in one week is just proof that football changes quickly.

“A few weeks ago he would have been disappointed not to have time to play. Two great goals, but his overall performance was fantastic.”

What’s next?

Both teams are playing in the FA Cup next weekend, with Everton heading to Hull City next Saturday; kick off at 17.30.

Brighton’s third round clash is at West Brom earlier that day; kick-off at 3pm.

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