David Moyes was left devastated by Everton's 2-0 defeat at Bolton on Sunday and claimed it was the poorest performance by one of his teams.
Moyes looked drained after goals from Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge handed the home side a comfortable Premier League victory at the Reebok Stadium.
The Toffees boss said: "That performance was as bad as I can remember since I have been in charge.
"The toughness we have had I didn't think was there and it was required. We have been built on that quality.
"The onus was on us to get the ball down and we did not do that. We also didn't do the other bit which was compete hard enough.
"We did not perform. Players who have been performing well all season probably had their poorest game.
"I pick the players and I pick the team. Maybe I have just gone a bit soft on them. Maybe I need to toughen up on them again."
England defender Cahill opened the scoring in the 10th minute when his header from Stuart Holden's free-kick was deflected by Everton defender John Heitinga.
Sturridge then made it three goals in three games after arriving on loan from Chelsea by smashing the ball into the corner in the 67th minute.
Everton are only three points above the relegation zone but Moyes questioned the free-kick that led to the opening goal.
He said: "We gave away two really poor goals. I do not think it was because Bolton opened us up. One was a free-kick, the other was another big kick in the box.
"I didn't think it was a free-kick. It was a scandalous decision. We didn't win the big challenges, which were important."
Bolton manager Owen Coyle was delighted his side returned to winning ways after five defeats in their previous seven league games.
He said: "It was a terrific performance and a hard-fought victory. We knew we would have to be at our best against Everton and we were. There were so many positives to take from the game.
"We had to withstand some spells of pressure because of the quality the opposition have, but I felt we looked a threat all day.
"We've had a little dip over Christmas and new year when we were down on numbers, sometimes having only 15 players.
"We managed to address that in the window and it is always great when the players you bring in play well."
The only downside for Coyle was a knee injury sustained by Zat Knight, which saw the defender replaced by David Wheater.
Coyle said: "He will need to have a scan but it does not look great. He was cheery enough when I saw him in the dressing room .
"It could be ligament damage to his knee but we hope it is not too severe because Zat has been outstanding for me since I arrived at the club. He is a big, big player for us."
Sturridge has made a flying start and Coyle said: "I am not surprised. These young players are just craving a platform to go and play.
"There are some terrific young talented players out there, most of them will be at the elite clubs. But there is no shame in not being in the Arsenal or Chelsea team.
"If I feel there are players who can benefit Bolton I will do everything in my power to bring them here."