Everton 1 Leeds United 0: Whites' drama lurches into a full-blown crisis after desperate defeat
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Sean Dyche hit the nail on the head.
His Everton players, chastened by events across Stanley Park five days earlier, did that over the course of the piece back at their Goodison Park manor, while Leeds United's sorry, disparate looking bunch displayed a damning dereliction of duty, bordering on neglect.
The evidence showed that it was a bigger game for Everton than Leeds. But it shouldn’t have been.
Leeds – currently led by a rookie interim coach - now find themselves second from bottom in the Premier League with a drama having lurched into a full-blown crisis and on this evidence, you fear for them.
At the moment, they are sleepwalking back to the Championship. No league win in 10 and two in 20 league matches since August 21.
Another relegation rival in Southampton now await this Saturday on one of those potentially tinderbox and febrile Elland Road occasions where there will be simply no hiding place for players, coaches or bosses.
Brief second-half chants of 'Sack the board' and 'Orta, time to go' were aired from the understandably angry Leeds followers in their section of the Bullens Road Stand.
For once at Goodison given Everton's torrid campaign, the major disgruntlement towards a club hierarchy came from away supporters as opposed to home fans, even if some joined in with the first chant.
Aimless Leeds were rudderless and passive and painfully went through the motions in their biggest game of the season to date. They did not so much as post one effort on target against a side who have toiled badly throughout a grim 2022-23. As statistics go, that is a shameful one.
Everton weren't brilliant, far from it, but at least they had a plan and had each other's backs.
They fought in midfield, kept it simple at the back, had one or two threats out wide and were strong at set-plays. Survival football.
Leeds had nothing. They resembled a team of individuals doing their own thing.
Their decision-making in the final third was atrocious, their set-pieces were lousy and they ran into blind alleys on countless occasions.
At the back, they were dodgy at defending corners and looked susceptible to crosses all game. To top things off, they conceded an awful goal in the game-breaking moment.
In his own after-match analysis, Michael Skubala, facing the music as opposed to others, felt it was purely a case of Leeds not being good enough on the ball. His standpoint was too simplistic.
Leeds did not show enough care on the ball, but that cannot account for not displaying urgency, purpose, drive or conviction - you name it. Never mind incision with the ball.
Just what it is about Leeds and February as well? As months go, it has proved a horrible one during their time back in the big time. It brings out the worst in them.
United have won just twice in 15 matches since returning to the Premier League. Eleven defeats have transpired, including losses to Everton in three successive seasons.
Just like last February, the Blues had an unlikely opening goal scorer in Seamus Coleman, one of those dependable, low-maintenance foot-soldiers whom all successful relegation battles are forged around.
Latching onto Alex Iwobi's pass close to the right-hand touchline, the Everton stalwart deceived Illan Meslier with an audacious finish.
Three-quarters of Goodison erupted and provided the fuel for the rest of the game, which the hosts saw out comfortably enough.
More crucially, they were out of the drop zone and Leeds were firmly in it, with wins for the Saints and Bournemouth putting the tin lid on a rotten day.
Coleman was involved in a set-to with Wilfried Gnonto just after the final whistle before exiting with a guttural roar to the crowd and clenched fist. Everton's 'Dogs of War' are back and on the day, Leeds were puppies, unfortunately.
The main animation came in a contretemps in the first half, initially between Dwight McNeil and Tyler Adams before others got involved.
Leeds offered zilch in the first half while Everton knocked on the door from set-plays with Max Wober and Weston McKennie clearing efforts from Conor Coady and Neal Maupay off the line in quick succession. Meslier also denied James Tarkowski.
Surely, Leeds would get better on the restart. Sadly, not. They looked a team crying out for leadership.
The hope came from those in royal blue, playing towards the Gwladys Street End.
The hard-working Maupay and Vitalii Mykolenko, an outlet on the left, had chances before Coleman's mustard finish.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Doucoure, Gueye, Onana (Davies 74), McNeil; Maupay (Simms 81). Substitutes unused: Begovic, Holgate, Keane, Gray, Mina, Godfrey, Vinagre.
Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Wober (Kristensen 45), Firpo; McKennie (Rutter 78), Adams; Summerville (Aaronson 61), Harrison (Greenwood 86), Gnonto; Bamford. Substitutes unused: Robles, Cooper, Gyabi, Monteiro, Joseph.
Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).