Sam Allardyce says Everton paid the price for not building on Cenk Tosun’s headed opener during a bright first half as Burnley came from behind to beat the Blues at Turf Moor.
The Turkey international grabbed his first goal for the Club when he planted past goalkeeper Nick Pope after the fit-again Seamus Coleman had flicked on a Theo Walcott cross.
That was just one of a series of chances created by the Toffees before the break as they attacked with purpose on a freezing afternoon in Lancashire.
Indeed, Walcott passed up a golden opportunity to net his third Everton goal before fellow January arrival Tosun had broken the deadlock, the forward blazing over when he and Tom Davies pounced on the same Gylfi Sigurdsson cut-back. Walcott was then denied by a low save from Pope before the interval.
However, second-half efforts from Ashley Barnes and substitute Chris Wood turned the game in the favour of the hosts, before stand-in skipper Ashley Williams was shown a red card late on.
"It's frustrating to create as many chances as we did in the first half - which has been one of our problems - and not capitalise on it,” said Allardyce. “That's had a massive impact on the result today.
“We’re left extremely disappointed by the fact that we’ve ended up losing the game when we’ve put ourselves in the position to win it, not only by scoring the first goal but also the amount of chances we created in the first half after that.
“I think the second half was about Burnley playing forward with Wood up front with Barnes, and us not coping with the more direct style of play they chose to use.
“That gave them the first goal, which put more pressure on us. I think we overrode that pressure to a certain degree and started to find our way back into the game but didn’t produce anything like the quality we did in the first half, apart from Gylfi manufacturing an opening for himself which he would’ve normally scored.
“He didn’t and then we decide not to deal with a corner correctly and allow a free header for Wood to pop it in and inflict a very disappointing defeat.
“Ashley Williams then gets himself sent off, so what started to be looking like quite a bright afternoon ended up very disappointing indeed.
“It’s an away defeat we certainly could have avoided and had we done better in the first half in front of goal we’d have won it, I believe.”
Tosun was handed only his third Everton start since completing his move from Besiktas during the most recent transfer window and added industry to his goal before tiring around the hour mark and eventually being replaced by Oumar Niasse.
“This is only Cenk’s third start since he’s arrived, he’s worked extremely hard on his game and I think everybody has seen that he’s got better and is looking more accomplished," added Allardyce.
“He scored his goal but obviously our monitoring and the way the system is, he’s running out of legs and he’s feeling the pace of the game, which happens when you first come here.
“We replaced him with fresh legs, which is Oumar, whose scored more goals recently that anybody else. So Oumar comes on, fresh, ready to go and those are the decisions that you make.
“In the end, it hasn’t worked by the fact we haven’t really played well enough in the second half to create as good a set of chances as we did in the first half."