Everton manager Roberto Martinez lamented “soft” defending as his side suffered a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Martinez’s men lost away from home in the Premier League for the first time since October and had been enjoying their best spell of the match before being cut open by Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah for Anthony Martial’s decisive 54th-minute goal on Sunday.
Captain Phil Jagielka hit the crossbar shortly afterwards but Everton could not force an equaliser, increasing scrutiny on Martinez’s stewardship of an inconsistent campaign.
“There were two games within a game,” he told BBC Sport. “Up until the goal, we were the team with a better tempo and we always looked a threat.
“The goal was a very soft action, it’s not up to our standards. The performances were very, very level and we shouldn’t have lost the game.
“It’s that sort of game that came down to small margins – the ball hitting the crossbar is the difference between us getting something out of the game.”
Nevertheless, Martinez declared losing away to Premier League heavyweights was not the source of his team’s concerns.
“We are a young group with great potential, but our home form hasn’t been anywhere near good enough.”
Everton could have a chance for a season-salvaging revenge victory in the FA Cup semi-final, should United overcome West Ham in a sixth-round replay at Upton Park on April 13.