And it looks like we might start to see elements of that from Everton boss Rafael Benitez.
The Spain manager comes under scrutiny after his side’s long run without a win – a miserable streak that touched eight games on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss at the hands of rivals Liverpool.
Inevitably, Benitez is faced with the kind of questions managers dread, those relating to their own futures and what makes their players so bad every week.
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Some managers will blame players, others will blame bad luck, while some will look to statistics to paint a picture that all is not as bad as it looks.
It’s the latter approach that Benitez apparently chose to take, turning to racing stats as a quantifier of his team’s positive performance in Wednesday’s derby loss.
He said: “We are really disappointed with things. We ran more than Liverpool in each department but conceded four goals. They punished our mistakes and this is something that we are already analyzing. “
While Benitez’s comments are factually correct, that doesn’t necessarily point to a positive performance. In fact, the same can largely be attributed to Everton’s little possession of the ball.
On the night, Everton finished with a possession average of just 32%, meaning they spent most of the evening chasing the ball, with Liverpool dictating play and tempo.
This inevitably meant the Blues had to run more running, elucidating the higher running stats compared to the dominant visitors.
This is not the first time that Benitez has referred to racing stats versus performance, stating positively in preparation for the Merseyside derby in an interview with Amazon Prime: “Before this week, Everton were the team that raced more. than anyone, we were at the top of the Premier League.
Again, given that Everton ranks in the bottom three in terms of having the league’s lowest possession average, it’s fair to say that their lack of possession time will be a big contributing factor to these. high stroke figures.
We’ll never know if Benitez truly believes these numbers accurately represent good performance, or if he’s the one looking for a bright spot during a difficult time.
But Everton fans won’t care anyway, they’ll just want to see their team start winning soccer games all over again, regardless of where they stand in the leaderboards.