Michael Keane admits a lack of a creativity cost Everton as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Watford.
Troy Deeney’s late goal earned the hosts victory at Vicarage Road, as the Blues missed the chance to close the gap on seventh place.
Everton went close through Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half strike and header, and Keane nodded wide after the break. But it was the Hornets who snatched the points late on, much to the disappointment of Keane and his teammates.
“We lacked creativity,” he said. “We got in good positions and could have caught them on the counter a few times. But it didn’t quite happen for us today. All we can do is keep working hard.
“We were more solid in general but we didn’t create a lot. They punished us when they got a chance.
“The lads are distraught in the changing room.
“We have no excuses – we have to do better. We know that. We had the right mentality coming into this game and we were desperate to do well and turn our away form around.”
Much has been said about the Blues’ difficulty in picking up results on the road and, despite edging a tight first half, they were left empty handed in Hertfordshire.
Keane admits the players are unable to put their fingers on why they can’t bring their impressive home form – where they have picked up 17 points from eight games at Goodison Park – with them on their travels.
“We can’t explain our form away from home,” he added. “We are extremely disappointed with the result today.
"First half, we were well in the game and got into some good positions but we didn’t manage to show the quality that we have got.
“We have shown it at home this season but away it has gone missing. We didn’t show that quality today.”