For large parts of the match against Manchester United, Everton controlled the pace and nature of the game very well.
Against a lesser opponent they could well have secured a comfortable victory and the way they moved the ball and retained control against the team which is now 12 points clear at the top, was admirable.
It will be a big blow for Everton but they can recover from this defeat as they compete with the sides around them in the race for fourth place. It’s one more difficult game out of the way.
The only reason Everton failed to have any success is because United were so disciplined in the way that they marked and dealt with Everton’s more important players which effectively kept them out of the game.
They will face teams that don’t have the same levels of discipline so if they can retain the ball as they did in the middle, they will have more success when it comes to moving the ball through the final third.
They can also take positives from the greater amount of success they had down the right of the pitch, which came because Leighton Baines was being suffocated out of the game on the left.
Kevin Mirallas had a decent game before he was taken off, regularly making forward runs down the right and on occasions, beating Patrice Evra only to deliver poor balls across the final third which were easily cleared.
The side will be disappointed with this final point, the fact that they didn’t make too many clear and precise opportunities to score goals.
Leon Osman was frequently in the game and had a looping shot well saved by David De Gea and Nikica Jelavic should have tucked away a shot when he was given space on the edge of the box.
However, these chances will come against smaller and less disciplined teams which will give Everton a much better chance of securing vital wins. Not every team has the sort of players that can do the jobs United did yesterday.
Defensively Everton need to improve when the side is under pressure and both goals from United were examples of poor and basic defending. This is the main area which needs to improve for Everton to get into fourth.
How do you think Everton played?
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