Roberto Martinez has spoken of the hurt he felt at the nature of Everton's Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool.
Speaking after the 4-0 reverse at Anfield, he said: "It's a matter of admitting that we weren't at our best, but it's a day that hurts because it's a special day for our fans and we need to make sure we change this situation by playing how we have been between now and the end of the season.
"It means a lot and once we conceded the first goal maybe we got a little bit emotional with the game and we pushed so much forward to get that equaliser that we left ourselves a little bit exposed."
Steven Gerrard's header from a corner on 21 minutes opened the scoring, before Daniel Sturridge stunned the Blues' rearguard with two strikes in as many minutes.
Luis Suarez added a fourth early in the second period to round off a sour evening for Martinez's men.
The Spaniard added: "It was a disappointing first half from our point of view. We had a period of around 15 minutes where we lost the game. We were desperate to come here and be ourselves and put in a performance where the fans could be extremely happy and proud.
"We started well enough but conceded the goal from a deadball situation and we put ourselves in Liverpool's hands really. We lost our concentration, lost our usual shape and it was unlike us."
Phil Jagielka, Ross Barkley, Steven Pienaar and Antolin Alcaraz all returned from injury to bolster a depleted Blues side before kick-off, but Martinez admits a lack of match sharpness may have counted against his side on the night.
"The players that came back had to be rushed back," he explained. "But we don't make excuses. We looked at times out of sorts, we gave the ball away too easily and we left ourselves exposed.
"We were the team with the best defensive record in the division and we have been playing in a really positive and impressive manner. It's a moment to assess the whole season as well as tonight."