Ashley Williams says Everton’s players are “angry and hurt” following their 5-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday evening.
The Blues travelled to London buoyed by a stirring midweek victory over Leicester City but fell behind to an Aaron Ramsey tap-in inside six minutes against the Gunners.
Laurent Koscielny, Ramsey again, and Arsenal debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added further first-half goals to send Everton into the break 4-0 down.
Substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed home three minutes after replacing Theo Walcott on 61 minutes – but Ramsey completed his hat-trick to restore the hosts’ four-goal advantage with 16 minutes left on the clock.
Williams was initially part of a three-man Toffees defence at the Emirates. But Sam Allardyce reverted to a back-four following the interval, with midfielder Tom Davies replacing Michael Keane – albeit manager Allardyce conceded he would have been justified in withdrawing any of his 10 outfield players.
"Everyone is angry and disappointed with the performance and result,” said Williams.
“The manager was not happy – but none of us are.
“It hurts like any defeat but when you go down like that – 4-0 in the first half – it does really hurt.
“It is football, and whatever formation you play, or whichever personnel are in the team, you have to do your best. You have to compete and we did not compete in the first half. We have used different formations and won, so that is not an excuse.”
Williams, who skippered Everton against Arsenal, admitted the Toffees had been desperate to use their success over Leicester on Wednesday as a springboard for a profitable run of form.
The Blues sit 10th in the Premier League, five points off seventh-placed Burnley and hold a seven-point buffer to the bottom three.
Welshman Williams, then, insists his side must train their sights up the table, rather than becoming preoccupied with looking over their shoulders.
And he stressed that the players will be working hard from Sunday morning onwards with a view to delivering an improved performance and result when Crystal Palace visit Goodison Park in seven days’ time.
“We won on Wednesday night and wanted to build on that,” said Williams.
“We knew it would be a difficult game at the Emirates but we wanted to get a result… then we performed like that. It was disappointing, but you have to pick yourself up. We have work again in the morning and start working towards the next game.
“Everyone is trying to get as many points as they can and we need to keep looking up and putting points on the board for ourselves and see how high we can finish – and not get dragged back down into the bottom half. It becomes more difficult when you are down there, with more pressure on the results.
“They are all big games, especially when you are playing a team below you at home on the back of what we have just produced today. We need to perform better [against Palace] and win that game.”