Carlo Ancelotti says a second-half display lacking energy and intensity cost Everton their place in this season’s FA Cup following defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
Ancelotti’s team created a number of presentable openings in the first 45 minutes but were repeatedly denied by home goalkeeper Adrian.
The Blues tailed off after half-time, though, and although chances were in short supply for Liverpool, too, the game was settled by a 71st-minute curling 20-yard strike from midfielder Curtis Jones.
Ancelotti, who also revealed he will seek to “improve the team” in this month’s transfer window, made three second-half changes and one of Everton's substitutes in Moise Kean hooked an effort wide in stoppage time.
Everton return to Premier League action against Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park on Saturday.
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ANCELOTTI DISCUSSES CUP EXIT
"The fact we didn't score in the first half I think affected the performance in the second half,” said Ancelotti.
"We were unable to keep the right idea on the pitch as we had in the first half, when we had opportunities to score.
"That, naturally, was not good enough. We lost a lot of energy on the pitch, a lot of intensity in our play and we didn't have an opportunity to create chances up front.
"I know we have to work. Next week we have all week to prepare for the game [against Brighton].
“That will be good for the team, to train all week. In this period we had lots of games. We couldn't train, practically.
“So the fact we will have time to prepare for the game will be good to improve the quality of our play and have more confidence on the pitch."
Ancelotti brought Morgan Schneiderlin and Theo Walcott into his team to face Liverpool, while the home side made nine changes.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goalbound blast was stopped by Adrian’s legs after six minutes and, on 12 minutes, the Spanish keeper reacted to paw out Mason Holgate’s header.
Adrian used his foot to repel Richarlison’s low strike and Calvert-Lewin was wide with a drive from 20 yards after being set up by Theo Walcott.
Everton could not summon a similar concerted attack on Liverpool’s goal following the restart and were ultimately undone by Jones’s effort, which clipped the bar on the way in.
"The line-up of Liverpool didn't affect our idea, which was to play a good game,” said Ancelotti.
"We knew Liverpool put fresh players in their team, that the intensity could be high in the game, so I think the defeat arrived because we were not able to keep the high intensity in the second half.
“We lost energy, we lost confidence, we were not able to build up quickly from the back, so for this reason we were not able to keep the same idea we had in the first half to attack their defensive line.
“In the first half we did well and had two or three opportunities where we could score.
“I said to the players at the end of the first half to keep going, to continue to create opportunities but, honestly, in the second half we were not good enough.”
On the winter transfer window, which opened on 1 January, Ancelotti added: “We are going to work together to find the solution to improve the team.”