Maurizio Sarri had no answer as Chelsea’s hopes of a top-four finish were dented as Everton finally ended a 25-match run without a win against a top-six side with a 2-0 victory.
The Toffees’ record against the Premier League’s established powerbase is poor with their last success over one of them being a 4-0 hammering of Manchester City in January 2017.
On the evidence of their opening 45 minutes, it never looked likely they would end that sequence but capitalised after the visitors failed to take advantage of their early dominance.
Woeful and timid in a first half in which the visitors should have pressed home their advantage, they returned after the break a different side with goals from their joint Premier League top scorers Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who now both have 12.
“I don’t know and the players don’t know what happened in the second half. I cannot explain it,” Sarri told Sky Sport.
“We played the best first half in the season and we could have scored four or five and then suddenly we stopped playing. It’s very strange and we stopped to defend and counter attack.
“We were in control of the match and we played very well so we needed continue but we didn’t defend at the start of the second half. We changed the system but it was the same.
“The problem was mental on the pitch, so the system and the tactics are not important. It wasn’t about motivation because we started very well. We have to play eight matches now and we have to fight for our possibilities.”