Rafael Benitez needs ‘fast start’ at Everton to win over fans – Phil Jagielka

Former Everton captain Phil Jagielka has warned Rafael Benitez he faces a “rocky start” at Goodison Park.

The Spaniard was appointed on a three-year contract on Wednesday, becoming the first former Liverpool manager to take charge of their city rivals.

However, the controversial appointment has not been well received by a section of the fanbase, whose animosity stems from Benitez’s “small club” jibe after a 2007 Merseyside derby, although he has since sought to clarify he was referring to them having the mentality of a small team in their approach to the game.

Jagielka said the best way for Benitez to win over the dissenters was to make a big impact early on.

“He will need to get off to a fast start and make a couple of marquee signings to smooth over, potentially, a little bit of a rocky start,” he told Sky Sports News.

“If he gets a good start and the right results they will get behind him because that’s the sort of club Everton is.

“The hierarchy at Everton have decided to go with Rafa, it is a controversial decision to say the least.

“If we take away what club he used to manage and that side of history, as a coach and a manager he has performed at the top level.

“They are getting a very competent man in – the only issue is there will be elements within the Evertonian family who won’t be happy seeing him in the dugout.”