Ronald Koeman admitted a poor first half proved costly as his Everton side lost 2-1 against Lyon in the Europa League at Goodison.
It was the French visitors that went in at the break in control after Nabil Fekir had slotted home a sixth-minute penalty. But an improved Blues struck a deserved leveller when Ashley Williams headed home Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick on 69 minutes. However, they were undone when Bertrand Traore cleverly flicked Maxwel Cornet’s cross past Jordan Pickford.
Koeman admitted he was satisfied with the response from his players after the interval but conceded his side were not good enough in the first half.
"I'm of course disappointed,” he said. “We started well but in a short time you are 1-0 down.
"The performance was under the level in the first half. We made a lot of mistakes, and the team played with a lot of doubts and little confidence.
"The second half was better. We fought for everything, scored a good goal and created good chances.
“But in life you need a bit of luck - Gylfi's free-kick could go in and we could be 2-1 up. But it hits the post and then we find ourselves 1-2 down.
“The way that we played the second half - more direct and aggressive – was the way to get back into the game. All the times that we played short and out from the back, we made mistakes. But we owe much to Jordan [Pickford] that it was only 1-2.”
The result leaves Everton bottom of Group E with one point from three games, with Atalanta leading the way on seven points, and Lyon behind them on five.
With three games left to play, including the reverse fixture in France in a fortnight’s time, Koeman admits it will be tough for his side to progress to the knockout stages.
"It's very difficult [to reach the next stage],” he added. “Most of the time you get your points at home but we have only got one out of the two we have had at Goodison.
“Nothing is impossible, but to gain more points – and I think we need six or seven – we need to improve the level and that is more important.”