Everton owner Farhad Moshiri insists new manager Rafael Benitez “ticks all the boxes” despite his appointment facing significant opposition from some supporters.
A section of the fanbase cannot forgive nor forget the former Liverpool boss’s “small club” comment after a Merseyside derby in 2007.
However, Moshiri, who is on his fifth managerial appointment in as many years since assuming control at Goodison Park, has looked beyond that and believes the Spaniard has the qualities to bring a winning mentality back to a club whose last silverware was lifted in 1995.
“Over the past few weeks we have conducted a very thorough search for a new manager and, after speaking with several very strong contenders, he stood out as the best candidate,” said Moshiri.
“We wanted a manager with experience of managing at the highest level, who has a strong track record of delivering success, who can work within our structure and who fully buys into our vision for the future.
“Rafa ticks all of those boxes and he impressed us in the interview process with his passion, his ambition and his vision.
“I know he has had other offers from other clubs but he was focused on proving to us he has the credentials and the qualities for the job here.
“We want to be playing in European competitions and challenging for silverware at home and abroad so it was vitally important we have a manager who has been there and understands what it takes to achieve that level of success.
“Rafa has managed clubs with big expectations and won some of the biggest trophies in the game.
“He’s a proven winner. We are confident that his winning mentality will bring success to us at Everton.”
It is more than four weeks since previous manager Carlo Ancelotti returned to Real Madrid and by a small quirk of fate, Benitez has become his successor for the second time having also replaced him at the Bernabeu.
Moshiri admits the recruitment process has not been the smoothest – they had considered former Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and two former Everton bosses in David Moyes and Roberto Martinez – or quickest, but was confident they had settled on the right man.
“I know that the last few weeks have not been an easy time for our supporters so I’d like to thank them for their patience throughout this process,” he added.
“It was important for us to take our time and find the right person.
“We were determined to do our due diligence, identify a shortlist of strong candidates who fit into our vision for the club and, ultimately, appoint the right man – and I believe we have done this.
“He (Benitez) has one of the most impressive CVs in world football. He knows how to build winning football teams.
“He has demonstrated at a number of clubs he can help them take the next step – and step up to the very highest level.
“He’s considered to have one of the best tactical minds in the game and I think his experience and know-how will be vital in helping us to push up the table and into the European places.
“Hopefully now we can come together and be confident about our plans on and off the field.”