Everton's promising start to the Premier League season has been derailed by injuries to key players, manager Rafa Benitez said after Monday's 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Everton were without Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Molineux as Wolves handed them a third consecutive league defeat.
After three wins and a draw from their opening four games, Everton have won just once in their last six, slipping from fourth spot to 10th after 10 matches.
"We were very good in the beginning (of the season)," Benitez told reporters. "We saw a lot of good and positive things.
"We are trying to make sure we are strong enough ... but still we are maybe missing the players that can make the difference.
"At least we saw the character in the second half to react after a bad first half. We have to see what we did in the second half for 90 minutes."
Everton host ninth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)