Coach Carlo Ancelotti has revealed why his wards fell 0-2 at home to Newcastle on Saturday.
He explained that Everton’s defeat to Newcastle came as a result of lack of motivation, concentration, and ambition” which has underpinned the Blues’ recent impressive form.
Everton went into the match having won five and drawn one of their past seven top-flight matches.
The Toffees were aiming to close the gap on the Premier League’s top four to just one point but saw their momentum checked as Newcastle striker Callum Wilson struck twice to earn the Magpies a 2-0 win at Goodison Park.
Ancelotti said his players did not perform to the levels expected of them.
“I think Newcastle won the game because they showed more fighting spirit on the pitch,” said the Italian.
“They showed more concentration, more motivation. They were the weapons we had when we won games – spirit, motivation, concentration, and ambition.
“I think we forgot all this today at home. I don’t know why. But that was the reason, it was not a tactical or physical reason, it was a mental reason. The psychological aspect affected our performance.
“I am surprised. We had a good run until now. We are happy with what we have done.
“We cannot forget why we had a good run – because we showed good spirit on the pitch.
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“Not because we had better quality. Of course, we have good quality in the squad, but without spirit, there is no quality.
“We were not focused. We gave 12 corners to them. We didn’t win duels, second balls. This is the game – not only showing the quality.”
Ancelotti’s team return to action on Wednesday night at Leeds United (7.30pm GMT) targeting a fourth successive away Premier League win.
The Everton boss demanded his team again showcase the attributes which have helped them emerge as contenders for European qualification.
“We have had a good run and I hope it will only be one game like this,” added Ancelotti.
“I don’t want to forget what we did so far this season.
“We are in a good position in the table. I think this is because of our spirit.
“If you are beaten in the spirit, it is difficult to win games.
“I hope on Wednesday against Leeds, we are going to show our spirit and attitude, as we did in the past.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Ancelotti was also asked about potential moves for Bernard and Cenk Tosun, who were not in the matchday squad against Newcastle.
“They are in talks in this moment,” he said. “I am not involved in this as I was involved in the game.
“Maybe in the next days or hours, they can find a solution to leave. They will speak over the next days.”
Asked if there will be any incomings at Everton before Monday’s transfer deadline, Ancelotti added: “We have some days. We are looking forward, but we are not desperate.”