LONDON -- Everton manager Sam Allardyce slammed his players for putting on "a pathetic performance" in Saturday's 5-1 loss at Arsenal and accused them of not following his instructions.
Allardyce had made it clear he wanted to emulate Swansea's performance in their 3-1 win over the Gunners on Tuesday, but Everton were 3-0 down after just 19 minutes as Arsenal ran riot at the Emirates.
"I'm still angry," a fuming Allardyce told a news conference. "I think that accepting an instruction is part of a player's responsibility at this level of football. And we tried to give those instructions with the best information we possibly can in the time available. ...
"We set out to play like [Swansea], but unfortunately Swansea played at the top of their game and we played at the bottom of our game, which is to say that any tactics and any system you pick is absolutely worthless if your players don't play to their best.
"And if you play at the Emirates, you've got to play at your best, all 11, if you're to get anything out of the game. And unfortunately, none of our first 11 in the first half played anywhere near their best.
"That's why we were tumbling goals left, right and centre with our pathetic performance."
It made for a disappointing homecoming for Theo Walcott, who left Arsenal for Everton in January and started for the Toffees.
Walcott had the visitors' best chance in the first half but had his shot blocked for a corner, then delivered a pinpoint cross for Oumar Niasse in the second half only to see the forward hit the post.
Allardyce then took Walcott off to a rousing ovation from the home fans, with the score 4-0.
"It's a shame the players have not just let themselves down, but when somebody comes back to a club like Arsenal and they've been here 12 years, he wants to put on a good show," Allardyce said.
"But I mean, clearly the pathetic performance that we showed didn't give him the opportunity to go out against his old club and shine."