Marco Silva says Everton were punished by a more ruthless Manchester City in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
The manager tweaked his formation for the meeting with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions and would have seen his side hit the front had Richarlison converted a good 15th-minute opportunity.
City instead broke the deadlock from their first clear opening, Gabriel Jesus streaking through to score after Everton had relinquished possession in their own half.
Striker Jesus doubled City’s advantage five minutes after half-time, prompting Silva to send on attacking pair Ademola Lookman and Theo Walcott.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed in his third goal of the campaign to drag Everton back into the contest on 65 minutes, only for substitute Raheem Sterling to quickly restore City’s two-goal lead.
“The match went like we planned until the moment we made a mistake and they scored,” said Silva.
“We were really good [before City’s first goal], although not with as much of the ball as we would have liked.
“Against these teams, if you are not effective with one big chance, and concede from your first big mistake, it is more difficult.
“I told our players at half-time we needed to keep our good organisation and at one moment we would take more risks.
“One of the keys was conceding the second goal too early in the second half. And after we scored, we conceded the third too fast.
“That was the key [the timings of the second and third goals].”
The introduction of Lookman and Walcott on 57 minutes freed Richarlison to join Calvert-Lewin up front, while Everton reverted to a back-four having started with the trio of Kurt Zouma, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina in the middle of defence.
Everton began to see far more of the ball, sweeping forward and pushing City’s raiding full-back duo Kyle Walker and Fabian Delph deep into their own territory.
The excellent Lookman created chances for Richarlison and Walcott after sparking the move which ended in Calvert-Lewin scoring with a driving run down the middle.
Walcott also caused City problems and provided a tremendous cross which nearly resulted in Calvert-Lewin scoring his second of the match with 10 minutes remaining.
“We had to take more risks [in the second half],” said Silva. “That's our way to play. Lookman and Theo, especially Lookman, did really well when they came on.
“We showed strong character again. We brought it back to 2-1 and had three clear chances to score goals. We have to score more goals if we want to get a different result.
“You have to be more effective. We knew before the match about Manchester City's qualities. We needed to be perfect in defence.
“It was a big game, tough like we expected.
“We were playing against the best Premier League team, a side with a lot of quality, not just individual quality but their way, how they break and are organised."