Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell believes the side have got into a bad habit of conceding the first goal in matches which is impacting badly on results.
Sunday's 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke was the seventh time in nine Barclays Premier League games the Toffees had gone behind and ended up losing.
That it resulted in a fourth league defeat in seven matches at Goodison Park this season only compounded the problem, and Rodwell told evertontv: "It is a bad habit."
Rodwell, who made his first Everton appearance since November 5 as a second-half substitute having recovered from a rib injury, added: "You don't want to concede any time so to go behind early doors you have to claw yourself back into the game and that is difficult."
In truth, what cost Everton more was their regular problem of a lack of cutting edge up front. And they were not helped by the withdrawal of striker Louis Saha 24 hours before kick-off with yet another injury problem, this time a thigh strain.
It meant manager David Moyes had to give 19-year-old Apostolos Vellios only his second start for the club.
That the Greek Under-21 international is the club's leading scorer with three goals sums up the problems facing Moyes.
"We had an injury to Saha so we gave him a go and he is doing okay," said the Scot.
"Starting the game was a big ask, it was maybe better suited to Louis where you might get a little bit of intelligence in being able to come off players. We lacked that bit of creativity which he can give us."
Asked whether he would be looking to add more creativity in next month's transfer window Moyes, who has been linked with another loan move for Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, said: "If I could do that I would do."