Everton manager Roberto Martinez has accepted that his side were not at ‘their best’ in their 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace last night.
23 minutes in, Jason Puncheon put Palace in front before Scott Dann added a second after half-time.
Substitute Steven Naismith brought it back to 2-1 for the Toffees, before Cameron Jerome restored the Eagles’ two goal advantage.
Kevin Mirallas scored four minutes from time setting up a tense finish, but Crystal Palace held on for the win, reaching 40 points and theoretically safe from relegation.
The Toffees were looking to leapfrog Arsenal into fourth with a win, but are now a point behind the Gunners with only four games till the end of the season.
And Martinez was extremely disappointed with his side’s defensive frailties, unable to cope with the pressure and concede three goals.
“Defensively to concede three goals you’d expect the opposition to have more chances and more threat,” he told Sky Sports.
“I did feel that the first half we had a little bit of a fearful look about our performance, we weren’t ourselves at all.
“I think the reaction in the second half was terrific – it deserved something positive out of the game.
“And we created enough chances to do that, bearing in mind that Crystal Palace will always limit you to very little in front of goal because that’s the way they are drilled and defensively they’ve got a terrific record.
“But I just feel that scoring two goals (to get back level) was the hardest part of this game.
“The disappointment is conceding three when they had four shots on target and that’s down to probably our feeling of having something to lose today.”
Everton continue their chase for fourth place when they host Manchester United at Goodison Park this weekend.