Defender Michael Keane believes the players have let down Ronald Koeman as the Everton manager fights for his job.
The 5-2 mauling by Arsenal on Sunday has heaped more pressure on the Toffees boss, who has overseen just two wins in 13 matches in all competitions this season. But Keane insists the players have to shoulder a great deal of responsibility.
“The lads were devastated in the changing room. We knew it was a big game for the club,” he told evertontv.
“The lads are low on confidence. I don’t think that was the case early on but as the goals went in it happened more and more. I think it is down to us at the end of the day, the manager can only do so much.
“We have 100 per cent belief in the manager – we have done all season – and we hope we can get this right for him. We feel like we have let him down as a bunch of players and we are working hard to sort it out. It is not happening at the minute so we have to try different things to sort it out quickly.”
Koeman insists there can be no excuses for the club’s slide into the relegation zone. The Dutchman said the game was finely balanced until Idrissa Gueye’s red card midway through the second half when Everton were 2-1 down.
But there was no doubt the home side were lucky to be still in the game at that point after a string of good saves by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as the Gunners dominated.
Seven league goals in nine matches tells part of the story, although the disjointed way the team have played after a £150million summer spending spree and rumours of dressing room unrest have also contributed. Koeman will plough on regardless, with a Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea next up on Wednesday.
“It is a really tough time. The team is not performing well, the position in the table is not the position Everton should be in. Everyone knows that,” he told BBC Sport.
“We had a lot of expectation after last season and that makes the situation really difficult. I think you can try to explain several reasons why but it is football; you need to win and there are no excuses.”
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright were at the game but Koeman does not know when he will speak to them next after they visited him at the club’s Finch Farm training complex on October 13 to express their “full, total support”.
“I don’t know (when he will speak to them). Normally I have contact after every game, speak or text,” he added.