Frank Lampard says Everton didn’t get the reward their “immense” performance deserved after Phil Foden’s late goal for Manchester City settled a frenetic Goodison Park encounter.
Everton created chances for Jonjoe Kenny and Richarlison and were denied a penalty following Foden’s strike when the ball hit away midfielder Rodri on the arm.
Lampard, who won his first two home matches in charge, paid to tribute to his players’ meticulous execution of a counter-attacking gameplan.
But he was left to rue a stroke of misfortune after Bernardo Silva’s low delivery deflected off Mason Holgate to catch out Michael Keane and enable Foden to tap in.
Everton delivered a furious response but saw their penalty appeals fall on deaf ears in the closing minutes.
Donny van de Beek, excellent in midfield for, was forced off on 71 minutes, with Lampard hopeful the Dutchman suffered nothing more sinister than cramp.
Everton are 17th in the Premier League standings, with Lampard frustrated over the point that got away.
“I thought we deserved a point,” began Lampard, “on performance alone – and it doesn’t always work like that – but when you play against City, you understand how the game might go; possession against you, having to defend, press, cover and do a lot of work.
"And we did it brilliantly, from first minute to last.
“We were deeper in the second half, but that can happen against City.
“The performance was great, the organisation and work ethic we wanted was applied by the team.
“City had possession and chances they always do – but we had chances, too.
"Every player, for their application, for their bravery on the ball... I am very proud and on reflection we will look back and think, 'What a performance'.
“The decision cost us the opportunity to get what we deserved.
“The first half was immense from everybody. On general play, we deserved something from the game."
Everton tested City goalkeeper Ederson through Richarlison on 34 minutes, shortly after full-back Kenny shot into the side netting from a promising position.
Jordan Pickford was barely tested before the break but produced a handful of terrific stops after half-time, notably mustering a fine double save to repel Kevin De Bruyne and Silva.
City broke through when Silva’s deflected cross arrived at the feet of Foden to convert.
"I won't criticise an individual mistake, it is a little freakish, cruel, but that's football," said Lampard, whose side felt they were denied a clear-cut penalty towards the end.
"We are a hurting a bit because of the performance [deserving more] and because of a huge decision," continued Lampard.
“We have to accept it [penalty call] and take pride in the performance against a top team.
“If the table doesn't look great in a couple of weeks, so be it. It didn't look great when I came but I have seen big improvements in performances, confidence and how the Club is joined from top to bottom – with fans, players and owners.
“Don't look too much at the table for the next few weeks. I am not buying time with that... we have a lot of points to play for. If we play with the energy and passion we did today, my feeling is, we will be fine."
Lampard was able to select Abdoulaye Doucoure for the first time as Everton boss after the Frenchman recovered from the groin problem that sidelined him for four matches.
And the manager is optimistic of having Van de Beek available to face Tottenham Hotspur in nine days' time, despite the premature curtailment of the 24-year-old’s involvement against City.
“We hope it is cramp, although I don’t want to commit to that,” said Lampard.
“He said he felt it wasn’t so bad.
“I thought he played really well… put in a really big shift.
“He’s come from not playing many games, to playing regularly for us, so cramp would be understandable.”
On Doucoure, Lampard added: “He was incredible. I was a big admirer before I came, so to have him injured was disappointing.
“To see him produce that level of output and performance against the best team in the league was great.
“It is a big plus to have him back.”