Alan Stubbs admitted he was disappointed with the manner of his side’s defeat after Everton’s Under-21s suffered a 2-1 reverse at home to Blackburn on Monday.
The young Blues went behind to a Hallam Hope own goal midway through the first half at Finch Farm, and though the hosts later levelled through Conor Grant, Rovers’ Bruno Ribeiro hit what proved to be the winner 15 minutes from time.
And with countless chances squandered in a stop-start contest, Stubbs was left to rue what he described as a ‘flat performance’.
He told evertonfc.com: “I haven't been disappointed on too many occasions this season but I think the lads let themselves down.
"Sometimes as players you have to find a way to pick things up, to inject a bit of energy into the game where it needs it. We didn't do that and that's the disappointing thing from my point of view.
"To be honest, there was nothing in the game. I don't think either side did enough to win. From our point of view, it was a very flat performance. There wasn't a lot of energy, quality or clear-cut chances created. We need to do a lot better.
"When things are not going well, you need to be able to grind results out, look to pick the game up, either as an individual with a tackle or a bit of class, or as a team. It just wasn't there today unfortunately."
International call-ups for second-string regulars John Lundstram, Apostolos Vellios and Matthew Kennedy opened up opportunities in the starting line-up for goalscorer Grant and midfielder Gethin Jones - both members of the Club’s Under-18s side.
With the duo playing over 80 minutes each, Stubbs believes the experience will stand them in good stead going forward.
He said: "Conor took his goal well but we need to see more over the 90 minutes.
"It's the same with Gethin on the other side. We need to see more from them throughout the game, rather than little bits. That's something for them to work on in their own individual development."
Monday's game also marked the return to action of Luke Garbutt, with the left-back tasting his first action since being sidelined by an ankle injury in August.
"It's good for him that he's back," said Stubbs. "He's been out for a number of weeks now and he needs a run of games to really kick-start his season."