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Rafa expects shift in Toffees' approach

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Rafa Benítez is expecting to come up against a more attack-minded Everton side when Newcastle United take on the Toffees at St. James’ Park on Wednesday night.

Sam Allardyce’s troops picked up a valuable point against local rivals Liverpool two days ago, despite having just 21 per cent of possession at Anfield.

They mustered only three shots at goal – in contrast to the Reds’ 23 – but Wayne Rooney’s late penalty consolidated their place in the top half of the Premier League table.

The Toffees are unbeaten since Allardyce took charge, and – with his own side winless in the Premier League since mid-October – Benítez is anticipating tomorrow’s visitors to alter their style once more for their trip to Tyneside.

“I think it will be different. I think they know they are a good team, they know they have some good players and they have to start winning games away,” he said. “I think they have enough quality to go and approach the game with the confidence they can win and they don’t need to be very, very defensive.

“If they are deep, you have the control of the game and it is a question of time. Maybe you can make a mistake and they create a counter-attack, but maybe they are more open and if they are higher you have more space – you never know. Football is unpredictable and we have to be sure we can control the things that are in our hands.”

The Magpies head into the clash on the back of six defeats in their last seven outings, the latest an agonising 3-2 loss to Leicester City on Saturday, where Ayoze Pérez’s late own goal proved decisive.

For Benítez, though, the result was down to more than just a single lapse in concentration, and the Spaniard is hopeful that a number of lessons have been learnt ahead of the Toffees’ visit.

“The way that you lose can always affect players, obviously, but the main thing is that we lost,” he said. “Like in the last games, we were very good at the start, the team was brilliant and pushing and sharp, and a lot of things. We then started making some mistakes and paid for that.

“We were talking about lack of experience sometimes, but it is something that we have to improve very quickly. If everything is fine, we can keep this intensity and hopefully create more chances and score more goals, and then we don’t have to complain if we concede a late goal. We have to have the confidence that we had before – it is easy to say, it is very difficult to do it if you don’t win. We know the only way is to keep working and keep working harder.”

"I think they have enough quality to go and approach the game with the confidence they can win and they don’t need to be very, very defensive."

Rafa Benítez

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