Wayne Rooney labelled Everton’s 5-1 Europa League thrashing at the hands of Atalanta as “upsetting” and “hurtful” but maintained caretaker manager David Unsworth has had a positive effect on the squad overall.
The Premier League strugglers had already blown their hopes of reaching the knockout stages and were mercilessly put to the sword by Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, who also found time to miss a penalty at Goodison Park.
Midfielder Bryan Cristante scored a goal in each half and after Sandro Ramirez’s first goal in Everton colours gave the hosts false hope, Robin Gosens lashed home spectacularly from range in the 86th minute before fellow substitute Andreas Cornelius helped himself to a brace amid shambolic defensive efforts.
“There’s nothing riding on the game but it’s our pride. It’s not nice to lose games and the manner we lost it is very disappointing and upsetting,” Rooney told BT Sport.
“There’s nothing much more to add. We wanted to win the game, we haven’t and that was a hurtful defeat for us.
“Getting the goal to make it 2-1, we were back in the game and had a couple of chances to equalise.
“Sloppy goals, set plays – we knew they were strong from set-pieces and we didn’t deal with them.”
It was Everton’s sixth game under Unsworth since Ronald Koeman’s sacking and the ex-Toffees defender now has four defeats and a solitary win to his name.
— Everton (@Everton) November 23, 2017
“We all have to play a role. Obviously [there has been] a change of manager and I think it’s been a popular change in terms of performances, tonight aside,” Rooney added.
“We have to keep trying to pick up points in the Premier League and move up the table.
“It’s the board’s decision. Since David Unsworth has come in there’s been a great atmosphere among the players, some positive results and the players are enjoying day-to-day training.
“The board have got a decision to make and I’m sure they’re working on it.”
Rooney was one of nine changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Crystal Palace last weekend and Unsworth lamented his second string entirely blowing their chance to impress.
“We gave a lot of players who haven’t been playing the opportunity to get minutes under their belt and get in the team for the weekend. Unfortunately the majority didn’t take that,” said the 44-year-old, who is now set to lead Everton at Southampton on Sunday.
“You can’t give away cheap goals and three goals the way we did in the last few minutes. It’s just not acceptable.”
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