A thoroughly woeful Everton got their Europa League group stage off to a dismal start in Italy on Thursday, with the Toffees losing 3-0 to Atalanta.
The game was played at Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium, some 120 miles down the road, with Atalanta’s ground currently undergoing renovations.
Atalanta, who secured a shock top-four finish in Serie A last season, were the superior side throughout and opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark.
Andrea Masiello was the scorer, netting from close-range after the visitors had failed to deal with a corner.
On 41 minutes, things got worse for the Toffees, with Alejandro Gomez making it 2-0 via a superb curling effort from the edge of the box.
Just three minutes later, Atalanta wrapped up the game before half-time after Bryan Cristante breached Everton’s weak backline before firing home.
After the break, Ronald Koeman’s side continued to toil, with Atalanta hitting the woodwork from distance.
The game would end 3-0 to the hosts, with Koeman no doubt unhappy that a side containing several million pound’s worth of summer signings – Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane, Nikola Vlasic, Wayne Rooney et al – barely threatened the visitors’ goal.
As a result, Everton find themselves bottom of Group E after the first round of games, with much work (and much improvement) to be done if they have any intentions of progressing to the knockout stages.