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Everton boss Benitez: Absent players no excuse for Watford defeat

Everton boss Rafa Benitez says absences were no excuse for their 5-2 home defeat to Watford on Saturday.

Josh King scored a hat-trick against his former club on the day.

Everton were without both Abdoulaye Doucoure, the former Watford midfielder, and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin against visiting boss Claudio Ranieri's side.

But Benitez rebuffed the suggestion those key absences significantly affected the result.

“Today was not about that, we had enough quality on the pitch to win – and we were winning," added the Everton manager.

“It is up to us to manage the situation and improve that – some players were a little bit tired but it doesn't matter, it is not an excuse.

“We have to be better – especially when you are in control of the game. You can't make the mistakes we made."

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