Abdoulaye Doucoure has revealed what Rafa Benitez told his Everton players in the immediate aftermath of their defeat to Aston Villa.

The Blues arrived at Villa Park looking to extend their unbeaten start to the season, but three goals in nine second half minutes ultimately condemned them to their first defeat of the campaign.

Villa full-back Matty Cash fired past stand-in Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic six minutes after the hour mark to give the hosts the lead.

Leon Bailey's corner was then headed into his own net by Lucas Digne at the near post before the winger struck again 15 minutes from time to seal all three points for Villa.

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And speaking after the game, Doucoure revealed Benitez told him and his Everton teammates that they must simply keep working after the defeat.

“I don’t think we controlled the game well after the second goal,” he said. “After the game, the manager said we need to keep working.

“Today was disappointing, conceding the goals was bad for us, but in the next game we have to bounce back and work even harder to get a good result.”

Next up for the Blues is a trip to the capital to take on Queens Park Rangers in the third-round of the Carabao Cup.

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The Blues then return to Premier League action next weekend when they welcome Norwich City to Goodison Park, and Doucoure is convinced that his side boast the character and quality to return to winning ways.

He said: “The result is a big disappointment for us because we were in a good moment. The team was doing well.

“We missed some key players, so it was hard for us. It is a small setback and next week we want to come back and win at home. I think we played quite well for 60 minutes.

“We had a great chance just before they scored, and I think the game could have been different but we know in the Premier League every game is tough.

“They scored one goal and kept the momentum, and it was hard for us to come back. We need to work hard and change this defeat into a win in the next game.”

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