LIVERPOOL, England- Phil Jagielka saluted the efforts of the Evertonians who travelled to Italy and admitted Everton let them down with the 3-0 defeat to Atalanta.
Over 2000 Evertonians made the trip to the Mapei Stadium for the Toffees’ opening group stage encounter but goals from Andrea Masiello, Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante meant they left empty handed.
Blues skipper Jagielka conceded the squad must now look to respond as quickly as they can.
“I massively feel for the supporters. I went over to clap them at the end, which wasn’t nice to do. They have spent a lot of time and money to get here.
“We are devastated ourselves as players but it is the fans who the result lets down the most.
“With the quality we have you expect to put in a better performance. The last three displays we have put in have been nowhere near good enough.
“They have been tough games, we have to admit that, but we need the fight and the desire to be there. In the second half we put on a little bit of a better performance but even then, we probably saved ourselves from being embarrassed.
“We have a few games in the league now and we need to make sure we come out, put in a lot better performances and pick up as many points as we can.”
His manager, Ronald Koeman admitted the defeat to Atalanta was a “big lesson” for his players.
“Everyone can do their maximum to gain a result, he explained. “But it is not the time or the place to criticise the players. I have to criticise myself because the team was not prepared for this tonight.
“It is a big lesson tonight. I thought that was happening after the third goal against Tottenham at the weekend but I need to ask myself the question what I did wrong.
“What I saw was a big difference in belief and confidence between Atalanta and Everton. They had aggression and passion. We made mistakes, the pitch wasn’t the best, either, but it was the same for them. Atalanta showed to us the passion that you have to have when you play football.
“I am really sorry for the fans. It is a difficult moment.”
-Report by Everton FC, www.evertonfc.com