Everton defender Michael Keane has revealed manager Rafa Benitez has taken a more ‘hands-on’ approach to coaching the team compared to ‘relaxed’ predecessor Carlo Ancelotti.
The Spaniard was appointed Blues boss at the end of June after Ancelotti left Goodison Park to return to Real Madrid at the end of last season following a 10th-placed finish in the Premier League.
Benitez enjoyed a fine start to life at Goodison Park, winning four and drawing another in his five opening matches.
The past seven days have provided his first challenge though, with the Toffees losing 3-0 at Aston Villa before being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Championship Queens Park Rangers on penalties.
However, despite the setback, Keane revealed he and the Everton squad are enjoying playing under Benitez and learning a great deal too.
The new Everton boss has been an animated figure on the touchline, whereas Ancelotti was more reserved and several players have revealed Benitez will constantly tell them where they can improve their game.
Keane is relishing the new approach and told talkSPORT 2: “It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed it, a different style of management.
“I think Carlo was more relaxed, whereas the boss now is very hands on, speaks to you everyday about tactics and how to improve which is really good.
“I feel like I’m always learning under him. I think all the lads feel like that.
“It’s different but everyone is enjoying it, we enjoy training and I think a lot of our performances so far this season, there’s a lot to be optimistic about.
“It’s been a good start but we need to carry on and make sure we stay up there near the top half of the league.”
Keane believes there has been a marked difference between how the team attacks this season compared to how the players went forward under Ancelotti.
Summer signings Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have six goals between them already and have provided great efficiency out wide and in forward areas.
Despite last week’s defeat and the League Cup humbling, Keane is confident Everton will get better and better as the campaign goes on.
“I think he’s changed our style of play,” he said of the alterations Benitez has made. “I think we’re getting the ball forward more, I think we’re looking more dangerous in attack, getting crosses into the box, getting people in the box, making forward runs.
“I think we’re doing a lot more of that than what we were last year.
“Obviously we’ve done a lot of work defensively on shape – we try to stay compact – so it’s something we keep improving day by day.
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“The manager’s always teaching us really how to play his way and helping us improve as players.
“I think you’ll see a steady improvement from us throughout the season but I think it’s been a good start.”
Everton welcome Norwich to Goodison Park on Saturday before travelling to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on October 2.
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