Marco Silva admitted his frustration Everton did not “kill the game” after Newcastle United hit back from two goals down to secure maximum points at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The Blues delivered an impressive first-half performance in the north east, with strikes from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison giving them a deserved lead at the interval.
Silva’s men were on the front foot during the opening period of the second half, too, but could not apply the finishing touch after advancing into several dangerous areas.
The Magpies hit back through Salomon Rondon, before two goals in quick succession from Spanish forward Ayoze Perez secured victory for the home side.
Silva says his team must be more ruthless when they get into commanding positions.
“In the first 45 minutes we played good football, had good moments and were always aggressive,” said Silva.
“We had full focus. When we spoke at half-time, I said to them, ‘We did well but the game is not finished yet, we have to keep doing the same’.
“In that first 15, 20 minutes of the second half, we must kill the game.
“We had many chances to make good counter-attacks, we had many moments three against three, and two against two. Because of a lack of assertiveness in the last decision, in the last moment, we didn’t create more chances to score.
“After their first goal, they reacted stronger. We have to look to ourselves. Because I am sure if we keep doing as we did in the first half – and do what we must do in the first 15 minutes of the second half – we kill the match straight away with the third goal.”
Everton started the game brightly and took a deserved lead when Calvert-Lewin rose brilliantly to head home a pinpoint Lucas Digne centre.
The home side had a chance to level on the half-hour mark when they were awarded a penalty after Jordan Pickford brought down Rondon. The Everton ‘keeper made an excellent stop with his legs, though, to keep out Matt Ritchie’s spot-kick.
Two minutes later, the Toffees doubled their lead – Richarlison slotting in after Martin Dubravka parried Andre Gomes’ cross.
The Toffees continued to press in the second half but could not find the decisive final pass.
After Rondon volleyed in against the run of play on 65 minutes, Calvert-Lewin came within fractions of re-establishing Everton’s two-goal advantage when his shot whistled past the post.
Quickfire close-range strikes from Perez then completed the turnaround for the home team late in the piece.
“It is a matter to be more aggressive against the type of challenge [Newcastle provide],” Blues manager Silva added. “In the second half, they put long balls, direct balls.
“It is a disappointing result for us. It is a big frustration because I saw what we did [in the first 60 minutes], it was what we had planned in our strategy.
“After what we did in the first half and the first 15 minutes of the second half, we had the game in our hands. First, we have to blame ourselves and what we didn’t do in that moment.”