Everton let Jordan Pickford down by delivering a “gift” of a win to Bournemouth at Dean Court, according to Sam Allardyce.
The frustrated Toffees boss hit out at his players for leaking two soft goals to hand the Cherries a 2-1 win on the south coast, their first victory in nine Premier League games.
Everton lost their seven-match unbeaten run under new boss Allardyce as Ryan Fraser fired a brace, the second looping home via a hefty deflection off Michael Keane.
Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone with just their third league win at home this term, but Allardyce was left to lament at least a point dropped for the visitors.
“Jordan Pickford is a top-drawer goalie and a top lad,” said Allardyce.
“I knew he would be a top goalie, but I didn’t know it would be this fast; it’s outstanding that it’s happened this quickly.
“He’s very, very disappointed and the rest of the players should be disappointed, because we’ve let him down a bit today.
“We should have had a point out of today.
“You can’t go away from home and gift your opposition two goals like that.”
Fraser’s hooked shot pushed Bournemouth into a 1-0 half-time lead, before Idrissa Gueye drew Everton level after the break.
But just when the Toffees looked primed to eke out a point, up popped Fraser with a late drive that deflected off Everton defender Keane and into the net.
Allardyce insisted Everton must continue to work at defensive solidity until new goalscoring talent arrives at Goodison Park in the January transfer window.
Everton are rumoured to be close to completing a deal to sign Turkey forward Cenk Tosun from Besiktas, but for now Allardyce continues to focus on rearguard improvements.
“Overall our goalscoring abilities are limited,” said Allardyce.
“You don’t need to be a manager to look at what this squad has got at the moment.
“It’s got players who can play well and create and it hasn’t got many out and out goalscorers.
“That’s why I work so hard defensively because we’re never going to be a free-scoring team.
“That’s something that we have to continue unless we can improve our goal threat in this transfer window, which we’re looking to do.”
Eddie Howe hailed Fraser’s match-winning contribution, insisting the 23-year-old former Aberdeen winger can now kick on and realise his rich potential.
“Ryan is really beginning to show just how good a player he is,” said Howe.
“What’s important for me is his performances, the level of his game technically today, it was excellent.
“It’s been a long journey for him to get here from Aberdeen, and I’m not talking in miles there; it’s about his development as a footballer.
“I’m so pleased for him.”
Howe confirmed forward Josh King suffered a new hamstring problem in another injury blow to the Cherries’ already-tested squad.
Howe added: “It’s a huge blow to lose Josh, with a hamstring injury, that looks at this point like a pull.”