By Nick Ware

3rd Oct, 2021 | 10:10am

Sky Sports journalist lauds Rafa Benitez difference after Everton incident v Manchester United

Sky Sports journalist Ben Grounds has highlighted an incident in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United that suggests Everton have toughened up since Carlo Ancelotti’s exit.

Writing via his personal Twitter profile on Saturday night, hours after Rafa Benitez’s side secured a point at Old Trafford through an Andros Townsend strike, Grounds made an observation regarding the away side’s resilience.

“One incident above all epitomised Everton today, 30 minutes in when [Scott] McTominay tried to lift up [Lucas] Digne,” he said. “Allan, [Abdoulaye] Doucoure, [Yerry] Mina all stepping in, all having each other’s backs. [Seamus] Coleman would’ve been delighted seeing that. Not such a soft touch under Benitez.”

All on board

Every player in the first team really seems to have taken well to Benitez’s messages and have set about implementing his instructions on the pitch.

The Spaniard is well-known as a shrewd tactician, but perhaps one of his team’s lesser regarded qualities is the hunger they play with and the selflessness to help their teammates.

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Benitez has rarely managed the top team in his respective division – perhaps Real Madrid and, at a push, Inter Milan aside – and thus he has had to construct teams that are greater than the sum of their parts.

That seems to be the case with some Everton players now, with the likes of Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray enjoying career resurgences.

That’s not to subtract from their quality, and there’s something to be said for Benitez being the manager to coax their undoubted star potential, but the tenacity at which they are battling for the ball points at a bigger picture, one of a harmonious dressing room where every player is prepared to fight for each other.

It’s early days, but there already looks to be drastic improvements from recent years.

In other Everton news, Gary Lineker mocked Manchester United in this Blues player tweet on Saturday.

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