Everton boss Frank Lampard admits his side were not clinical enough against Newcastle but tried to take some positives from the 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park.
Miguel Almiron scored the only goal to condemn the toothless Toffees to a third successive defeat.
Lampard’s side are much better defensively than they were last season but that has come at a cost to their offensive play. They have gone two full games without having an effort on target and only three sides have scored fewer than their eight goals in the Premier League this season.
It meant the writing was on the wall when Almiron put Newcastle ahead in the first half, before holding the Toffees at arm’s length after the break.
Speaking after the game Lampard attempted to defend his side and put the game in context compared to where they were last season.
”The stats I understand because in the box we weren’t clinical enough. In terms of the overall game in terms of us competing, the stats were very good. It was a close match, Newcastle will know that. They are obviously ahead of us in their development. I think it was my second game we came here, and you could see where we were at and where we are trying to get to.
“It was two evenly-matched teams in general play but in the box we weren’t clinical enough today. I am pretty pleased with parts of the performance.
“They are physical team, they are fast on the counters so they will always give teams problems. I don’t think they gave us huge amounts of problems. The amount of times we played through their midfield with good play and the next bit isn’t there. That is why the stats read low on chances. We should have had many more chances than we created. That is the one reflection I have on the game.”
The one positive was Dominic Calvert-Lewin playing 73 minutes as he continues his injury return, though he was starved of service and offered little.
The striker needs to get up to full speed and quick, but Lampard again indicated he was not going to take any risks with his fitness.
“He [Calvert-Lewin] hasn’t played for a long time, since the back end of last season. He is a big player for us and when you lose a player of that level... we lost Richarlison in the summer and we are rebuilding. It is two big players. It is nicer to have him back in. I had to take him off as precaution and with the idea of Palace coming at the weekend.”
Lampard also felt Everton should have had a penalty when Anthony Gordon went down under a challenge by Fabian Schar in the box.
The replays certainly suggested a little nudge in the back by Schar, as well as a tangle of legs. But unfortunately rightly or wrongly Gordon has gained a reputation for diving which means he is unlikely to ever get much from referees in such situations.
“I thought it was a penalty. I worry that he [Gordon] will not get penalties because people are talking about him a lot last season. If you ask me if it is a foul, it is a nudge in the back and contact on the foot. For me that is a penalty. I am not saying it is a clear one but when you can look back on VAR, it is a penalty.”