Jonjoe Kenny says Everton being unable to capitalise on a commanding first-half performance at Newcastle United on Saturday represents a “massive disappointment”.
A fine glancing header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a predatory close-range effort from Richarlison meant the Blues were two goals to the good at the interval.
Marco Silva’s side appeared capable of carving out opportunities at will during the opening period, attacking with pace and zipping the ball around confidently.
The Toffees began the second half on the front foot, too, putting the home side under consistent pressure.
But after halving the deficit against the run of play through Solomon Rondon just past the hour mark, Newcastle upped the ante thereafter and two late strikes from Ayoze Perez completed the turnaround.
Academy graduate Kenny delivered an accomplished display having been thrust into the starting line-up at short notice after Seamus Coleman fell ill during the pre-match warm-up.
The defender made more interceptions (five) than any player on the pitch, while only centre-back Michael Keane completed a greater number of clearances.
Reflecting on the game, though, the 21-year-old’s mood was one of frustration, insisting the Blues should have converted their impressive first half into a victory.
“It is massively disappointing,” Kenny told evertontv. “At 2-0 up in the first half I thought we were brilliant, we made the game easy for ourselves.
“But in the second half we did not do what we had been doing before half-time.
“We still had chances, if we’d scored the first goal [after half-time] and made it 3-0, the game would have been done.
“But we didn’t, we kept them in the game and 2-0 is always a difficult scoreline. They got the first goal and the crowd behind them.
“We did not defend well [after Newcastle’s first goal] and were punished for that.”
Boss Marco Silva echoed Kenny’s view, saying his team “did everything we had planned in our strategy” for the first 60 minutes but paid the price for “not killing the game”.
The enterprising performances produced by Kenny and fellow full-back Lucas Digne underlined Everton’s ambition during the first hour at St James' Park.
The pair regularly progressed into threatening areas high up the pitch, with their influence highlighted by the fact they had the highest and second-highest number of touches during the game (Digne 87, Kenny 80).
Kenny insists the Blues must learn valuable lessons from the defeat and display more ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch.
“There is a lot of quality in this team and we need to be going and winning games like this,” he added.
“If you can’t win it, you need to make sure you at least take a point. We didn’t and that is very disappointing.”