'I told him later': Rafa Benitez had words with Andros Townsend after wonder goal
Rafa Benitez says he had some words for Andros Townsend after the Everton winger scored a wonder goal against Burnley. The boss stayed true to form.
Everton scored some fantastic goals against Burnley. Demarai Gray’s finish after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s magnificent pass deserves praise but Andros Townsend stole the show with his goal.
The 30-year-old picked the ball up, cut inside in true Townsend fashion and found the back of the net from 25 yards. It was a sensational strike and one that earned plenty of plaudits.
Benitez was a part of that, too – though, not after getting in his critique.
“Andros maybe scored the goal of the season the other night and I told him later but at the moment the game finished I wanted to tell him other things,” Benitez told Sky Sports.
“As a manager, you need the right mix. Of course, I’m praising them as they’re doing very well but at the same time, I’m explaining to them that we can improve. The players appreciate that and are keen to learn.”
Benitez praises Townsend goal
This is historically how Benitez operates. Yes, you’ve done something incredible but that doesn’t help things improve.
Fernando Torres tells a similar story from his time under the now-Everton boss.
“I remember that I was playing phenomenally, I had just scored three goals and everyone signed the ball,” said Torres, per Marca. “Everyone put ‘you’re the best’ or ‘congratulations’, things like that.
“Rafa Benitez put ‘today you lost the ball eight times’. It was his way of motivating you to improve.”
Townsend can probably count himself lucky that he got any praise at all in the end, then. Getting a ‘goal of the season contender’ shout out of Benitez is pretty tough.
But, obviously, Townsend will understand that lack of immediate praise. Benitez’s approach tends to push players on to new levels – much like Torres.
And in the meantime, head to your teammates for the praise.