Mason Holgate says captaining Everton for the first time was “a proud moment for myself and my family” but admitted the occasion was dampened by the result as the Blues were edged out by Leeds United on Saturday.
An end-to-end contest at Goodison Park was settled by Brazilian attacker Raphinha’s 79th-minute strike.
Everton created numerous chances throughout the match and had the ball in the net twice in the first half through James Rodriguez and Richarlison. Both efforts were ruled out for marginal offsides, however.
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan also forced fine saves from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier but Carlo Ancelotti’s side could not find a breakthrough.
Defender Holgate revealed his emotions upon being handed the captain’s armband, while declaring Everton’s hunger to return to the performance levels which yielded seven straight wins at the start of the season.
“Everton is a massive club and it’s the first time I’ve captained the team in any game,” said the 24-year-old, who joined the Blues from Barnsley in 2015.
“For it to be in a Premier League match is a big moment for me and my family.
“This club has been a massive part of my life so it is proud moment for me, but it still comes with the disappointment of losing.
“We know the team and squad we’ve got is better than what we’ve been doing in recent weeks.
“We need to get consistency levels in our performances and results again.”
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ANCELOTTI WANTS MORE CONSISTENT EVERTON
Everton and Leeds fired in a combined 38 efforts on goal during the clash at Goodison.
The Blues recorded eight shots on target compared to Leeds’ seven, as both sides posed a consistent attacking threat.
Holgate admitted Everton did not execute manager Ancelotti’s gameplan, however, and outlined where the team must improve. The Toffees return to Premier League action next Saturday at Burnley (12.30pm GMT).
“There’s lots of different things [we could have done differently],” he said.
“The main one being on the ball, not pushing things as much as we did.
“Obviously, we know what kind of game they like to play, which is man-to-man, intensive, back and forth.
“We know the way we wanted to play and ultimately we didn’t do that.
“It felt like we got involved in a game of you attack, we attack.
“The intensity they made the game... as soon as we got the ball, we felt we had to go forward as fast as we could as well. That led to it being back and forth, back and forth.
“When it’s like that, it makes it into a 50/50 game.
“They got the goal in the end, and that’s won them the game. On a different day, we could have nicked that and we could be talking like it’s a good result.
“It’s disappointing but all we can do is regroup and get ready to go again.”
The game represented Holgate’s second Premier League match of the season, having missed the start of the campaign with a toe injury.
“I felt comfortable, I’ve had a good few weeks training now,” he said.
“I’m feeling fitter. Obviously, you’re not going to be 100 per cent because that comes with matches.
“To be able to get matches in now is good and, hopefully, we can now get a few wins on the board.”