A frustrated Ronald Koeman said he could not question the spirit of his players after they did “everything” to try to force a comeback against stubborn Burnley.
Having dominated early on, Everton fell behind when Jeff Hendrick steered home against the run of play on 21 minutes.
The Blues then re-established their foothold on the game after the break but, despite chances for Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and two late penalty shouts for handball, Koeman’s men slipped to their second home defeat of the campaign against a Clarets side who remain unbeaten on the road this season.
“I am disappointed with the result but not the commitment and the belief of the players, because I thought that [today] was totally different and what you need to win the game,” said Koeman.
“But, in these circumstances, you need to score the goal in the first 20 minutes - I thought we started well but we missed some good chances.
“And, you know, if you analyse Burnley, if you go behind it’s really tough. They drop even further back, they are defensively and physically strong and you need to be at your creative best, and that wasn’t at the level that we needed to get at least one point.
“We tried everything. We tried to create chances, we had many crosses, we had some headers, and [they were] good chances.
“We were unlucky; they blocked every shot. That’s the situation the team is in.
"But the way we fought and the commitment we had today is the direction to go and to continue in.”
The international break means Everton now have a wait of a fortnight before travelling to newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on 15 October, and Koeman added: “Maybe, yes [the break has come at a good time].
“Of course you like to work with the players every day to improve the team, but maybe in this situation it’s good to have the break.
“It’s all about the game in two weeks now and that’s what we need to prepare for.”