Michael Keane conceded Everton did not produce enough in front of goal as he called on the Blues to put their 1-0 loss at Brighton behind them and focus on starting 2019 with a win at Goodison.
Marco Silva’s men went down to Jurgen Locadia’s close-range finish just before the hour mark at the Amex Stadium as the Dutchman took advantage of a fortuitous Andre Gomes deflection to slot past Jordan Pickford.
Luck wasn’t on Everton’s side on the south coast as both Richarlison and Kurt Zouma saw efforts hit the woodwork after the Seagulls went ahead, while there were other chances including a Keane header, Seamus Coleman’s deflected drive when well placed inside the area and Bernard after the Brazilian did well to race down the left wing and create space for himself.
Keane admitted the Blues should have found the back of the net with the opportunities they created but rued letting Brighton dominate the early stages of the second half which led to the winning goal.
The centre-back, arguably Everton’s standout player with another accomplished display to thwart numerous Brighton counter-attacks, now wants his side to get back to winning ways when Leicester City come to Goodison Park on New Year’s Day.
“We grew into the game in the first half,” said Keane. “I had a header and we had a few more chances that we could have done better with. If you go 1-0 up you control the game more but it’s otherwise very disappointing.
“We had a very good win against Burnley and we wanted to build on that but we just to put this behind us. We’ve got three home games now and we just want to turn it around.
“The next game’s massive, especially being at home in front of our fans. We want to put that right. It’s important we start the new year with a win and start climbing the table again to get to where we think we belong. We need to start that on Tuesday night.”
The game’s decisive moment came on 59 minutes when Pascal Gross swung over a corner from the right, the ball hit Gomes and fell into the path of Locadia to finish.
The effort was initially ruled out for offside but when it was confirmed that Gomes’ touch had proved decisive, the Seagulls had their winner.
“To be fair it’s come off one of our players so it was onside but it was very lucky to fall to them in that way,” added Keane. “We came out second half and didn’t start as strong as we wanted to, they put pressure on us and got the goal and we didn’t create clear-cut chances after that to get back in the game.
“They are solid and hard to break down, as I think we are, so there wasn’t many chances in the game. Maybe fatigue played a part as on our day I think we could have caused them more problems but we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. It’s now about focusing on our next game and putting it right.”