Frank Lampard insists Everton have “a lot of lessons to learn” from their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Goodison Park.
The Blues could not extend their unbeaten run to eight matches despite Alex Iwobi’s cracking fifth-minute opener from 25 yards as mistakes in possession allowed the visitors to hit back through Anthony and Cristiano Ronaldo before the break.
Lampard praised his team for showing spirit to fight back after the interval and put pressure on United in the closing stages.
But he conceded improvements must be made from their first-half showing which ultimately left them empty-handed.
Lampard said: “There were a lot of lessons today. There was a lack of edge to our game which is normally there. We were off it in the first half. I also think we can improve our calmness in possession. We’ll work on it and we’re developing.
“I think the game was lost in the first half, from our point of view. The performance was short of where we’ve been and against a team with the quality of Manchester United. If you make mistakes and turnovers that lead directly to goals – that’s the big threat of theirs and it always has been. We allowed that and that’s disappointing from our point of view.
“It was a great start and maybe it made us a bit passive in our game off the ball. I think we sat in a bit and we had to correct parts of our press at half-time because we were late to things and I didn’t like some of that stuff in the first half.
“It was better in the second half and we pushed with a lot of spirit in the end. I applaud that a little bit but it’s disappointing because of where we’re at – we have been moving in a good direction and we get checked, but that might not be the worst thing in the long-term.
“We’ve been playing well recently and you feel that we might have a chance to assert some authority on the game but that didn’t really happen.
“To be fair to Manchester United, they had good possession and moved the ball well.
There are a lot of things I can reflect on from the game – it’s our job to look at those details, but when you look at it in the cold light of day it’s two mistakes from us that lead directly to their goals. Those goals affect the result.”
Lampard admitted there was an added positive from the game after the welcome return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a substitute 20 minutes from time.
The England international has been sidelined through injury for large parts of Lampard’s reign as Everton manager and, although the manager urged caution as the striker works his way back to full fitness, he was pleased to see Calvert-Lewin back on the Goodison turf, as well as a debut for summer signing James Garner.
“We’ve managed Dom through his return in terms of his workload. He wasn’t ready to start, but to get him on the pitch was a positive,” said Lampard.
“He needs to build match-fitness but we all know his quality and the difference he can make so it was good to see him back out there.
“James is a very good footballer and offers us something different in terms of his qualities. I was happy with the impact he made coming on and I think he showed glimpses of what he can give us going forward.”