Carlo Ancelotti shouldered his share of responsibility for Everton’s “really bad” performance n a single-goal loss to Sheffield United on Sunday.
The Italian insisted the blame would be shared with his players and conceded Everton’s European qualification hopes had receded, perhaps fatally.
Ancelotti is promising the Goodson Park problems which have held Everton back this term will be corrected next season.
He is puzzled by his side’s ‘double face”, however, with Everton boasting the Premier League’s fourth-best away record but standing 15th in the home-form table.
This outcome, settled by a seventh-minute goal from Sheffield United’s teenage forward Daniel Jebbison, leaves Everton eighth and three points behind a top-six position.
"We played really badly," said Ancelotti.
"We were not in the game from the beginning until the end. We have to be a little bit embarrassed because the performance was really bad.
"It was a great opportunity to get a result to stay in the fight for Europe. We lost a great opportunity and that’s it.
"For certain points, I’m a little bit surprised, but at home we usually have done these kinds of performances – but not as bad as tonight.
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HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON 0-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
"I think I have to take responsibility for this, and also the players have to take responsibility.
"It was our worst performance of the season.
"It is difficult to say [why Everton are better away]. When we tried to put quality and build from the back [in home games], we had more difficulties.
“We are more comfortable when we play direct but that is not the best style of play.
"For next season, we are going to change. We have to analyse the season. Certain aspects are really good – away we did fantastic results, at home really bad. Double face.”
Everton forced a handful of opportunities in response to Jebbison’s early strike.
Aaron Ramsdale in Sheffield United’s goal produced a fine stop to keep out a diving header from Richarlison and in the next instant repelled Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s follow up at point-blank range.
The England Under-21 player saved impressively from Allan, while the visitors defended resolutely as Everton had more of the ball after half-time.
Ancelotti’s side forced 16 shots but only six on target.
They host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday in front of what will be Goodison Park’s biggest crowd since 1 March last year.
Ancelotti hopes the 6,500 fans inside the ground rouse his side and insists Everton must target two victories to finish the season, with a trip to Manchester City next Sunday completing the campaign.
"We have two games to the end,” continued Ancelotti.
“We lost a great opportunity to have the chance to fight for Europe. We have to do our best to the end.
“The next one we will have fans and maybe they can help us wake up.
"To be ready for Europe, you have to be in Europe.
“We have to try to win the two games and see if we are in Europe or not. If we are, we will build a squad to be in Europe.
“If we're not, we'll build a squad to be better in the Premier League.
"If we are able to qualify for Europe, it will be a step forward quicker. I think we have improved compared to last season and we have to still improve for the next season."