Everton have sacked manager Rafael Benitez after just over six months in charge.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat at bottom club Norwich was a ninth loss in 13 Premier League matches, with the Toffees winning just once during that spell, and left the club just six points above the relegation zone.

It was the Canaries' first league win for two months and only their third of the season and lifted them off the foot of the standings.

It was reported that Everton held an emergency board meeting on Saturday night at which Benitez's future was discussed, with the decision to sack the Spaniard announced on Sunday afternoon.

A club statement read: "Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first-team manager.

"Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect.

"An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course."

Everton fans at Carrow Road were furious with the team's performance, expressing their views with chants and banners that the former Liverpool boss should not remain at the helm.

One supporter invaded the pitch in an attempt to confront Benitez, while at the final whistle a chorus of "sack the board" was heard as Everton fans booed their own team.

Benitez was appointed Everton manager in June 2021 - a highly controversial move given his previous time in charge of Liverpool.

It was a major gamble by club owner Farhad Moshiri, and it has not paid off.

Moshiri last month stood by Benitez, stating that the 61-year-old would be given time to get things right with new signings and injured players coming back.

However, the return of players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin has not seen an improvement.

Everton's next game is against Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez is out of work

Benitez later issued a statement through his official website, admitting he had the challenge of winning over the Everton fans at the start of his tenure and pointing to injuries as the main reason behind the poor run which led to his departure.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy, and that it was a big challenge, both emotionally and in terms of sport," he wrote.

"My love for this city, for Merseyside and its people, made me accept this challenge, but it is only when you are inside that you realise the magnitude of the task. From the very first day, my staff and myself worked as we always do, with commitment and full dedication, we didn't only have to get results, but we also had to win over people's hearts.

"However, the financial situation and then the injuries that followed made things even harder. I am convinced that we would have been better once the injured players were back and with the arrival of the new signings.

"The road to success isn't easy and sadly, nowadays in football there is a search for immediate results and there is always less and less patience; unfortunately circumstances have determined the results and it won't be possible to continue this project.

"In any case, thank you to the board, to the staff, to the players, and to those fans who have supported us during this time."