Rafael Benitez insisted Richarlison’s feisty attitude in Everton’s 2-0 win at Brighton only emphasises his commitment to the club’s cause.
The Brazilian forward was left visibly unhappy when denied the chance to take Everton’s penalty, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin instead stepping up and burying the spot-kick.
Demarai Gray fired Everton into the lead, and Calvert-Lewin’s third goal in as many games sent the Merseysiders into the Premier League’s top four.
Everton boss Benitez revealed Richarlison would have been in line for a spot-kick had the Toffees won two penalties in the match, with Calvert-Lewin the first taker.
“We had a conversation before the match and I told them that if we had two penalties, the first one is Dominic and the second one is Richarlison,” Benitez said.
“Richarlison wants to score goals, it’s normal, but I’m pleased we won and that Dominic scored. And everyone has to be happy with that.”
Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly signalled their intent to try to prise Richarlison away from Everton should they lose Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid.
Benitez said on Friday he is “99.9 per cent” sure the forward will stay at Goodison Park, and believes the Brazilian has been unfazed by speculation around his future.
Asked if Richarlison’s anger was down to rumours on his future, Benitez replied: “No I don’t think so, that is a positive thing for me, that he was trying to compete.
“The player has played in the Copa America and after that the Olympics, he’s had no holiday and is back and working really hard for the team. So I’m very happy with him. And hopefully the next time we have two penalties, he can take the second one.”
Moise Kean has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus, but Benitez insisted he is unsure on the Italy striker’s situation.
“To be fair I don’t know the latest because I was focused on the game,” said Benitez. “So I’ll try to talk now with our people and see what’s happening.”
While Everton took their unbeaten league start to three matches, Brighton surrendered their 100 per cent opening to the campaign.
Seagulls boss Graham Potter admitted the hosts were beaten by the better side on the day.
“I reckon we played against a good opponent, and we have to give them credit,” said Potter. “We didn’t quite hit our normal level, and we missed Solly March’s balance on the left.
“I didn’t think we were bad, we just weren’t that good. And I thought Everton were good today.”
Midfielder March missed out with a hamstring issue, but Potter believes the 27-year-old will not be sidelined for long.
“I think this game just came a bit too soon for him, it’s a little hamstring strain so hopefully he’ll be okay for the Brentford game,” Potter said.
Following the international break, Brighton travel to face Brentford in the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday, September 11. Everton host Burnley on Monday Night Football on September 13; coverage starts at 7pm with kick-off at 8pm.