John Ebbrell hopes the 2-1 Premier League Cup defeat to Fulham serves as “a wake-up call” after Everton Under-23s suffered their first defeat of the season.
The Blues’ assistant coach admitted the Toffees were “100 per cent not at the standards the players have set” in a first half that saw them trail at the break after Fulham winger Luca de la Torre’s opener.
Although substitute Kyle John levelled matters after the break, Jayden Harris struck the winner on 78 minutes to deny Everton in the opening group stage of this season's Premier League Cup.
Ebbrell conceded defending champions Everton did not deserve to win the game based on the first-half performance, as they failed to impose their usual fluid attacking style on the home side.
“With the standards we have set this season, the first half was unacceptable and was not up to the levels we have been at,” he told evertonfc.com.
“We gave them a start and then a goal – both goals were poor from our point of view – and you cannot do that.
“In the second half, we have come out and played to a level that we think was okay but not great. We scored a good goal and looked as though we were going to go on and win the game.
“But then we conceded a second really poor goal. It is difficult to win matches when you do that.
“I hope it is a wake-up call. We don’t like losing games but we didn’t deserve to win that one. The players have set their standards and 100 per cent we were not at those standards for the first 45 minutes.”
The two half-time changes made by boss David Unsworth – replacing Dennis Adeniran and Ellis Simms with Manasse Mampala and John – looked to have added fresh impetus to the Toffees.
Indeed, it was Mampala who set up his fellow substitute for the visitors’ equaliser.
But despite dominating the second period, Everton left Motspur Park with nothing. With plenty of Premier League Cup group matches to come, however, there is opportunity to right the wrongs of this result.
And Ebbrell insists the response will start in the very next training session back at USM Finch Farm.
“In fairness, in the second half, we came out and showed what we can do,” he added. “The two lads who came on at the break lifted us. I am pleased for Kyle because he has been out injured for a while. He has got in a good position and scored. That will give him a lift personally.
“It is important that as a group we react now. You can’t win every game but there is a right way to respond when you do lose. Our levels were not at the right levels to win.
“It is a good opportunity now for the players to say, ‘Okay, that was a one off’. We want to now go on another [unbeaten] run and that will need a level of performance consistently.
“You can look at the competition now and say there are plenty more games to right the wrong of this result but looking at it now, we spoke in the dressing room afterwards about how important it is to get back to our standards.
“We will look for a reaction and we will get back to training with that in mind. The players have been left in no uncertain terms the standards the Club has and those that they have set themselves. We will look to be getting after the players ahead of the next game.”