Sean Dyche believes Everton put in a strong early performance on Thursday night but were guilty of yielding too easily after being left to battle back from a two-goal deficit against Newcastle United.
The Blues started the Premier League contest brightly but failed to recover after going 2-0 down with 20 minutes remaining en route to a 4-1 defeat at Goodison Park.
Dyche's men impressed in the early stages of the contest against one of the Premier League's in-form sides and, despite falling behind to Callum Wilson's opener just before the half-hour mark, went agonisingly close to levelling seconds before the break, only for Dominic Calvert-Lewin's smart finish to be ruled out for the closest of offside decisions.
That proved decisive as Newcastle took charge in the latter stages of the second half, leaving Dwight McNeil's late goal as scant consolation.
Speaking following the clash, Dyche said: “I thought first half we were as strong as we’ve been. They scored from a breakaway situation and that can happen.
“As disappointing as it was, we started the second half brightly, but then we went under too easy after the second goal. You can’t do that against good sides, and they are a good side playing with freedom.
"Not long ago they [Newcastle] were being booed off by their fans and now they are free as a bird. That has to be earned here and has to be earned quickly."
Dyche added: “Other than the goal, we defended well. We limited their chances. They’re a good outfit. They kept going and got the second one, but the reaction to that was not good enough. It’s as simple as that.”
Dyche also confirmed to evertontv in his post-match press conference that he was hopeful captain Seamus Coleman could return for Monday's trip to Leicester City having missed the past three matches with a hamstring injury.