Rafael Benitez hails Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi for playing through pain

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Rafael Benitez hailed Everton duo Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi for playing through the pain barrier in the Carabao Cup second-round victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The pair combined for Everton’s 26th-minute opener on an entertaining night in West Yorkshire, with Davies dashing forward and slipping the ball in for Iwobi to deftly finish between the legs of Terriers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

Everton were pegged back by Tom Lees’ equaliser on the stroke of half-time and had Moise Kean sent off just before the hour, but Andros Townsend’s 79th-minute strike – his first goal since signing for the club in the summer – sealed a 2-1 win.

The Toffees held on despite Davies and Iwobi both struggling with niggles late on, the duo remaining on the field as the visitors had already used their three substitutes, and Benitez was impressed by their selflessness.

Benitez, who made nine changes to his line-up from the weekend, said: “I like to see Tom Davies work so hard with a little problem in his quadriceps, I like to see Alex Iwobi limping but still trying to help the team.

“We know when you start playing and the team is working and showing commitment on the pitch, the fans are happy with that.

“They can see we are trying to improve every single player, they know the difficulty of the Financial Fair Play rules for us and they appreciate we are professionals and are fighting for our club.

“That is very clear and today they showed again this support – and this is the main thing for me, that they know we will be here, trying to do our best every day, every hour.”

While Huddersfield head coach Carlos Corberan was disappointed with the defeat, the Spaniard was encouraged with the performance of Luxembourg midfielder Danel Sinani on his first start since a loan move from Norwich.

Corberan said: “Sinani is a player who we know is very talented. The relationship between him and Sorba Thomas worked really well.

“By playing 70 minutes here, he’s put himself in a good position to become a competitor for the team.”

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