Ten-man Everton were knocked out of the Europa League with defeat at Lyon as David Unsworth’s hopes of being made their permanent manager were dealt a further blow.
The defeat coupled with Atalanta’s 1-1 draw against Apollon Limassol means the Toffees cannot progress from the group stage with two matches remaining.
Unsworth, who was promoted from the club’s academy to become caretaker boss after the sacking of Ronald Koeman, has now lost all three games he has overseen.
Former Chelsea player Bertrand Traore opened the scoring in the 68th minute when he outpaced the Everton backline and slotted past Jordan Pickford.
Their second came 14 minutes from time when substitute Houssem Aouar threaded his shot past the reach of the England goalkeeper, who was already spread out on the turf having saved from Mariano Diaz in the build-up.
It went from bad to worse for the visitors when they were reduced to 10 men after Morgan Schneiderlin received a second yellow for a foul on Maxwel Cornet.
And with two minutes remaining former Manchester United midfielder Memphis Depay, who set up the strike for Aouar, applied the final blow when he headed in the third from six yards.
Earlier in the match, Everton full-back Cuco Martina was taken off in a neck brace having fallen awkwardly in a challenge with Cornet.
Sigurdsson experiment puzzling
Unsworth opted to start with no recognised striker, so former Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson was tasked with what at first seemed a ‘false nine’ role but turned out to be an out-and-out target man.
The Iceland international neither managed to run behind the Lyon backline nor did he manage success with holding up the ball to bring his team-mates into play. It was a frustrating night for the £45m summer signing.
The experiment was halted in the 60th minute when forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought on and Sigurdsson dropped back.
Once back in his more familiar number 10 role he looked more comfortable, and had Everton’s best chance when he curled a shot fractionally wide of keeper Anthony Lopes’ upright.
What’s next for Everton?
From high hopes at the start of the season to dismal despair.
The club, with the backing of new major shareholder Farhad Moshiri, spent north of £150m on players in the summer and brought in highly regarded manager Koeman from Southampton.
But they are now without a manager, third from the bottom in the Premier League and out of Europe after suffering the ignominy of being the first English side to not win any of their first four games of a Europa League campaign.
It is also now five defeats in a row – the first time the club have endured such a run in 12 years.
Unsworth is believed to have four matches to stake his claim for the full-time job – he will have to produce a miracle against Watford to ensure he gets the nod.
Martina injury results in long stoppage
Everton’s followers will be hoping that the injury to full-back Martina is not as serious as it first looked.
The incident near the end of the first half saw the Curacao international jump behind Cornet to meet a high ball and land awkwardly on his neck.
The 28-year-old received on-pitch treatment for more than five minutes before he was taken off on a cart with his neck in a brace.