David Unsworth says his table-topping Under-23s will ‘draw a line’ under their 3-0 defeat at nearest rivals Manchester City.
The young Blues travelled to face the Citizens on Friday evening knowing a win would have extended their lead to nine points with just four games remaining.
Instead, after the hosts finally broke down the Toffees’ stubborn defence and foraged three goals in nine second-half minutes, the gap has been reduced to just three points.
Speaking after the game to evertonfc.com
, Unsworth had no complaints about the scoreline and put his side’s uncharacteristic display down as a one-off.
“I thought the better team won,” he said. “Sometimes we have to say that and hold our hands up - well played, Manchester City. I thought they were terrific for 90 minutes and we couldn’t cope with them.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t perform to the levels we’ve shown for the majority of the season, but City’s performance would have beaten any side in this league.
“[Assistant coach] John Ebbrell and I will analyse the performance, we always do and pick the bones out of every game. But from 1-11 if you don’t perform at the levels you should be doing, when everyone’s like that, sometimes you just have to draw a line under it.
“At this stage of the season, with four games to go in a really great position, we’ll probably analyse it more towards the end of the season.”
Next up for the Under-23s is a trip to Derby on 13 March before the run-in concludes with clashes against Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool - and Unsworth is already pointing to more positives on the horizon for his title hopefuls.
“We’ll regroup,” he added. “We might have one or two players back from injury so that might freshen up the team - we might need a tweak here or there.
“I said to the players that we couldn’t have won the league tonight, but we also haven’t lost it. We’re three points ahead with a great goal difference, so there’s a lot to be proud about this season.
“It’s still in our hands.”