Forward James Maddison said Leicester City were “not hungry enough” after their Premier League survival hopes suffered a blow with a 5-3 defeat at Fulham.
Victories for fellow strugglers Everton and Nottingham Forest later on Monday saw the Foxes slip into the relegation zone, two points from safety with three games remaining.
“[I’m] hurting. This was a big game for us and we were not at it,” Maddison told BBC Match of the Day.
“We didn’t start the game well enough. We need to do the basics well.”
Fulham opened the scoring through a Willian free-kick before strikes from Carlos Vinicius and Tom Cairney powered them into a 3-0 half-time lead.
Cairney added another after the restart before Harvey Barnes pulled a goal back for the visitors, who then saw Jamie Vardy miss a penalty in the 66th minute.
Willian re-established Fulham’s four-goal lead with another fine strike before Maddison netted Leicester’s second with a spot-kick and Barnes scored a late third.
Everton produced a superb display of counter-attacking to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone with a stunning victory that dented Brighton’s European ambitions.
An extraordinary first half saw the visitors go ahead after just 34 seconds, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin squaring for Abdoulaye Doucoure to tap in after Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk had been badly caught out.
Mali midfielder Doucoure added Everton’s second just before the half-hour mark with a precise volley, into the right corner from Dwight McNeil’s cross.
McNeil was then heavily involved as Sean Dyche’s side extended their lead, driving towards the byeline and seeing his low cross deflect off the foot of Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele into the back of the net.
A shambolic first period saw Brighton booed off at the interval, fortunate not to have suffered the embarrassment of being four goals down, with Dunk blocking James Garner’s close-range effort on the stroke of half-time.
A mightily impressive performance from Everton, who repeatedly threatened on the break during the first half and defended stoutly in the second, saw them add their fourth when McNeil raced on to Alex Iwobi’s incisive pass to round Steele and slot into an empty net.
Roberto de Zerbi’s side, who were much improved after making four half-time changes, saw substitute Evan Ferguson (twice) and Alexis Mac Allister hit the woodwork, before they finally managed a scrappy consolation with Kaoru Mitoma’s sliding effort rebounding off the post and bouncing in off Mac Allister.
A wonderful McNeil effort in added time, that flew into the top corner, ensured Everton had the final say as they moved out of the drop zone in style, to sit 17th in the table after leapfrogging Leeds United and Leicester City.
Nottingham Forest came out on top in a seven-goal thriller at the City Ground to climb out of the bottom three and leave Southampton on the brink of relegation.
In a raucous atmosphere on a rain-soaked night, Forest established a two-goal cushion on three occasions – and each time the visitors responded to pull themselves back into the contest.
But Southampton couldn’t manage an equaliser. Now they must win all three remaining games and hope either Forest don’t pick up another point, or Everton fail to get more than one, otherwise they will be back in the Championship for the first time since 2012.
In contrast, Forest have their fate in their own hands.
Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first double for the club in the space of three first-half minutes, profiting first from Danilo’s superb cross-field pass that allowed Brennan Johnson to set him up to volley home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
Carlos Alcaraz pulled one back for Southampton, only for Morgan Gibbs-White to restore the home side’s two-goal cushion from the penalty spot a minute before the break.
After Lyanco’s header had given Southampton fresh hope at 3-2, Gibbs-White was then instrumental in Forest’s fourth.
The England Under-21 international had the awareness to flick Johnson’s cross into an unmarked Danilo’s path for a cool finish, rather than go for goal himself.
James Ward-Prowse’s injury-time penalty ensured nerves were being shredded right to the very last seconds of a staggering day of Premier League action.
At kick-off, both these sides occupied the bottom two places and ended with Forest scrambling up to 16th – three points clear of third-bottom Leicester – and with rising hopes of preserving their top-flight status.