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Everton boss Benitez: Losing dangerous Gray big influence on Man City defeat

Everton boss Rafa Benitez admits losing Demarai Gray in the first-half was a blow for their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The Spaniard admitted Everton missed composure and precision on the counter-attack against City – and they weren't helped by the enforced withdrawal of Gray after only 17 minutes.

Demarai Gray is one of our most dangerous players on the counter-attack and he had one chance one-v-one with a defender, when you don't have that [Gray's threat] you are missing something, but with the players we had up front we had to create more," said Benitez, who will be without Richarlison at Brentford after the Brazilian attacker received a fifth booking of the campaign against City.

“The goal at the end of the first half changed things, you don't want to concede, but when you concede you don't want it to be at the end of the first half. With the quality they showed for the goal, it is difficult to stop that.

“When you don't concede and have a clean sheet in the first half, you can approach the second half in another way. Conceding at the end is not easy for the mentality of the players but we still started well in the second half.

"But [when trailing] you have to take more risks and are more exposed and they had more chances on the counter."

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