Spiraling Everton fire Benitez after just 200 days in charge

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Rafa Benitez's reign at Everton lasted just 200 days.

Amid a dismal run of form that has the Toffees near the relegation zone, the club confirmed the Spanish manager's dismissal Sunday.

In a terse statement, Everton said an update on a permanent replacement will be provided in "due course."

The Spaniard's tenure at the club was unpopular from the beginning. His ouster was widely expected after Saturday's 2-1 defeat to lowly Norwich City left the Merseyside outfit six points away from the relegation zone.

Everton have just one league win since September.

Benitez, whose controversial hiring in June sparked outrage over his ties with crosstown rivals Liverpool, failed to win over Goodison Park in his six-and-a-half months in charge. Fans voiced their opposition throughout his reign, questioning not only his loyalty to the club but his stubborn defensive tactics. His approach also caused trouble in the dressing room, with Lucas Digne engineering a transfer to Aston Villa because of Benitez's hard-line stance.

Everton started the season well enough, winning three of their opening four fixtures. But they plummeted down the standings in the intervening months, losing 10 of their last 15 matches while scoring a miserly 14 goals and allowing 30.

"I am a professional. I have enough experience and I came here to fix issues that, maybe, are coming from five years ago," Benitez said after Saturday's setback. "I have to make sure I analyze these kinds of mistakes we are making and avoid that for the future. Other things are not in my hands. I have to do my job."

Turning things around at Goodison Park is no longer his responsibility.

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Spiraling Everton fire Benitez after just 200 days in charge
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