Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth said “things have to change quickly” at the club after their poor run continued with a 4-1 defeat at Southampton.
Saints striker Charlie Austin scored two second-half headers on his first league start of the season as the Toffees capitulated after half-time.
They have now won only once in seven games under Unsworth.
“It’s killing me,” said the 44-year-old former Everton defender, who urged the board to quickly appoint a permanent manager.
“I take responsibility, but we all have to as well. We’re in a tough place and things have to change quickly.”
Unsworth said the performance at St Mary’s was “not acceptable” and the team need to “get back to basics”.
He added: “Confidence is as low as it has ever been. The club has to decide and the sooner that happens the better. The players need this resolving.
“What I see is a happy squad but I’d rather have an unhappy squad that’s winning. I want what’s best for the club and I hope the players do too.”
Dusan Tadic gave the hosts an early lead but Everton’s record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled just before the break.
After Austin’s double, Steven Davis scored from the edge of the box to wrap up victory for the Saints, who had previously scored only six league goals at home this season.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men produced a vibrant attacking display that should lift the pressure on the Argentine after his side failed to muster a shot on target in the 3-0 defeat by Liverpool.
With Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares offering a constant threat down the flanks, and Austin intent on making his mark, the Saints could have scored more.
Austin hit the post after 11 minutes following tenacious work out wide from Soares, and defender Virgil van Dijk headed wide on 40 minutes following James Ward-Prowse’s corner.
Capitulation follows capitulation for Everton
This defeat came just three days after a 5-1 loss to Atalanta in the Europa League, and ex-Everton striker Gary Lineker described the club as “a shambles” as they collapsed at St Mary’s.
The Toffees seem rudderless on and off the pitch, and former defender Unsworth has been unable to add any stability since Ronald Koeman was sacked in October.
Everton have now conceded 28 goals in the Premier League this season – their worst tally after 13 games since 1958-59.
Their only win under Unsworth came on 5 November against Watford, whose manager Marco Silva has been a target for the Toffees.
But, with the Portuguese seemingly now off the agenda, it is difficult to work out if the club had a plan for life after Koeman.
A worrying lack of clarity over their manager search is echoed on the pitch, where capitulation follows capitulation and the players’ body language looks increasingly forlorn.
Something has to give and fast – because they are playing like a side with very real prospects of going down.
Hojbjerg has mighty engine
Austin, Tadic, Bertrand – men familiar to the Southampton faithful had big games against Everton.
Austin’s double means he has had a hand in eight goals in his past 11 Premier League starts and gives Pellegrino something to think about when it comes to selecting his team for Wednesday’s game at Manchester City.
Tadic, meanwhile, has now been directly involved in 40 league goals for the Saints, and Bertrand provided two assists and impressive energy.
But, while the headlines will go elsewhere, a 22-year-old who had played for just six minutes this season also stood out.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg looked bright in pre-season but his progress has since stalled.
Against Everton, he showed eye-catching industry and efficiency – making more passes (96) than any other Saints player.
He was more accurate with his distribution than any of his midfield colleagues and also made more tackles than anyone else on the pitch – not a bad way to put yourself firmly back in your manager’s plans.
Man of the match – Charlie Austin (Southampton)
Southampton travel to league leaders Manchester City on Wednesday (20:00 GMT), while Everton host West Ham United at Goodison Park on the same night (20:00 GMT).
Pellegrino’s frustration lifts, Unsworth rues injuries
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said: “I was really pleased for my players because we have been working really well and I think we deserved to win.
“Sometimes it has been frustrating when we’ve been unable to convert good performances to victories, but today we played a really good game.
“Especially in the second half, after Everton equalised, the team continued the same ideas to play with tempo, with the ball on the floor and we scored four good goals.”
Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth said: “We are in a tough moment and we have a massive week ahead of us.
“Leighton [Baines] said he felt his calf. We’ll assess him but it doesn’t look good for Wednesday. Michael [Keane] is different but I need to find out the latest on him.”
Stats – Saints score four at home for first time since Koeman
- Southampton scored four goals in a Premier League home match for the first time since May 2016, when they beat Crystal Palace in their final game of the season under Ronald Koeman (4-1).
- The Toffees are now winless in 15 Premier League away games – their second longest run in the competition having reached 19 between December 1996 and December 1997.
- Since keeping a clean sheet in their first away game of 2017-18 (against MFK Ruzomberok in Europa League qualifying), Everton have conceded in each of their 11 away games in all competitions.
- Prior to Charlie Austin, the last Southampton striker to score two headed goals in a Premier League game was James Beattie in October 2002.
- Each of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s past four club goals have been scored from outside the box (two apiece for Swansea and Everton).