Everton Under-23s assistant John Ebbrell says the Blues have already switched their attention to Friday’s Premier League 2 showdown with Manchester City after bowing out of the Premier League Cup.
A young side travelled to Havant & Waterlooville’s Westleigh Park to take on Portsmouth on Monday, knowing only a win would be enough to secure progression to the knockout stages of the competition.
Bassala Sambou gave the Toffees the lead with an intelligent lobbed effort midway through the first half, but two Pompey goals after the half-time interval ensured the hosts’ place in the last 16 at the expense of their visitors.
Despite obvious disappointment at the outcome, Ebbrell admitted it was a welcome chance to assess some of the Club’s younger prospects.
“It was an opportunity for a few players who haven’t been playing as much this season,” he told evertonfc.com. “We’ve used the cup competitions to do that a little bit this season, but obviously the result was disappointing.
“We need to see the younger players. Obviously, they will be looking to jump up to the Under-23s and be in and around us, so we need to have a look at them and see what stage of their development they are at.
“It was a good opportunity to do that and a good test for the players. It was a horrible night and a difficult pitch down there, but these are the tests you are going to have if you’re going to be a footballer.”
The table-topping Toffees now prepare for a vital trip to second-placed Manchester City on Friday evening, with an opportunity to extend their lead to nine points with four games to play.
“Everyone is looking forward to the game,” added Ebbrell. “Obviously, they are second and we are top so we want to put on a positive performance, win the game and that will put Monday’s result behind us then.
“Our last performance in the league [a 2-0 home win over Southampton] was excellent. It was a very good team performance - good passing, good movement and we worked for each other. It was a joy to watch.
“We want to go to Manchester City now and do something similar, make that statement that we can play well against the best teams in the league and, ultimately, win the game.
“It’s another test for us. Regardless of what situation or scenario you are in, the key thing is to maximise what you have and perform at your best. Friday will be no different, apart from there being a bit more of an edge to the game because of the importance of it.”