Daniel Farke felt Norwich City’s 1-0 defeat at home to Everton was harsh on his side.
In a game of few chances, the Toffees dealt the decisive blow on 55 minutes when Michael Keane headed home Lucas Digne’s corner.
However, Farke was keen to praise the endeavour of his team who showed solidity at the back and created opportunities at the other end.
Speaking to canaries.co.uk, Farke said: “We were criticised for our defensive behaviour and we deserved to be criticised [after Southampton].
“The first step in the next game is to return back to pretty spirited and well-structured defensive behaviour and that’s what we showed today.
“If I’m honest, I just can give compliments to the lads today for our structure, commitment, desire and spirit on the pitch.
“We were the better side in the first-half and didn’t give one chance away. We had good situations as well, especially with Onel [Hernandez] on the counter attack.
“In the second-half, we were pretty solid. But we gave away an unnecessary set-piece and were not switched on in this situation. We were not aggressive enough and Keane was there with a precise header.
“We tried everything in the end – we brought all our offensive players on the pitch. It was a spirited performance, full of desire. I’m sorry for the lads, I’m disappointed they didn’t get their fair reward today.
“I think we definitely deserved more out of this game. Against Southampton, we definitely deserved the loss because of a poor second-half. But today, we deserved more."
Farke made four changes to his starting eleven, with Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Tom Trybull beginning the game on the bench, and he explained his thinking behind the decisions:
“Right now, we have a strange situation – five weeks and two games per week. It was pretty hot out there and without a proper pre-season, you have to rotate.
“In order to be creative and sharp in the offence, you have to have recreated players.
“It was also down to some tactical thoughts. Today, we played against Everton who work with many crosses by using the full-backs. We needed our wings players like Lukas Rupp and Onel Hernandez who have the speed and defensive discipline to track these players.
“That’s what they showed and out of this, we wanted to develop our game. We created several really good situations out of this.
“But we weren’t effective enough to use these. One set-piece was enough for them to win the game.”