Everton boss Rafa Benitez defended his decision to remove Richarlison after 58 minutes citing the Brazilian had a problem with his calf. The Everton manager made two substitutions when they were a goal down with Salomon Rondon and Anthony Gordon coming on for Fabian Delph and Richarlison. They were met with boos from the traveling Everton fans. Benitez tried to console Richarlison but it did not improve the mood as the striker sulked his way to the bench.

“Richarlison has a problem in his calf, we knew that at half-time,” Everton manager Rafa Benitez said about the Richarlison substitution. “We were thinking about changing him but we didn’t do it as we gave him five minutes to see how he was. We didn’t want him to get injured with so many games and he was not affecting the game, so you make the substitution as you know what is going on.”

“But you can’t explain that all the time. I’m disappointed that the people don’t realize that you make the substitutions and they go well, as Rondon was a key player for us with the way he held the ball. Richarlison wasn’t helping when he was moving his arms when he knew at half-time we were going to give him five minutes to see how he was.” he added. “He said at half-time, ‘give me five minutes and we’ll see how I’m getting on’ – I can’t explain that to every fan what is going on.”

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