Liverpool: David Moyes insists it is too early to talk about Everton as realistic contenders to qualify for the Champions League after his side moved into fourth place with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
Moyes' side were just minutes away from a defeat at Goodison Park on Sunday as they trailed to Clint Dempsey's second half goal.
But South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar equalised in the 90th minute before Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic hit the winner in stoppage-time to lift the Toffees above Spurs into the last Champions League qualification spot.
While Moyes believes Everton are worthy of being in that lofty position, he won't be getting carried away with thoughts of playing in Europe's elite club competition just yet.
"It is early to talk about qualifying for Europe," Moyes said. "But the position does not shame Everton or the way we have been playing, the way the players have been performing.
"We could have easily slipped out and been down towards the bottom half of the table. It feels good but we have to maintain the level of performance.
"The players showed great character to keep going. A win like that could lift you."
Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas admits his side must do something about their habit of conceding late goals.
During the course of the season so far, if Spurs' games had finished at 80 minutes they would be top of the league. Instead their unfortunate knack of conceding late on means they now find themselves outside the Champions League places.
"It is a disappointing result in the end," said Villas-Boas. "It has been our habit so far this season. If we do not count the number of goals we concede in the last 15 minutes, we would be top.
"Everton got more aggressive with the long balls and it proved more difficult to deal with them.
"So many different reasons (why they conceded late), it is not easy to explain because some come from different situations."
Moyes, in his pre-match programme notes, called for an improvement from the Premier League's match officials after a number of decisions went against his sides in recent time.
And Everton could have been given two penalties before the break, first Dempsey appeared to use the top half of his arm and shoulder to control the ball in his own area and then Pienaar's cross seemed to be blocked by William Gallas's arm but referee Kevin Friend shook his head on both occasions.
"I thought we had another difficult day and hardly a thing that went for us," Moyes said.
"You have to win the games, you can't rely on referees to win the game.
"But a lot of games are changed by referee decisions. We have not had any games where the referee has changed a game for Everton."
Everton forward Kevin Mirallas had to make way at half-time as he tweaked his hamstring but his replacement Steven Naismith missed a glorious chance within a minute of the restart.
Tottenham went ahead against the run of play in the 75th minute when Dempsey hit a speculative effort that deflected off Everton defender Sylvain Distin and found the back of the net after looping over Tim Howard.
Just as it looked like a cruel defeat for Everton, Seamus Coleman crossed into the area and Pienaar dived in to head past Hugo Lloris as the clock turned to 90 minutes.
Then 88 seconds later, Darron Gibson's long punt forward was flicked on by substitute Apostolos Vellios and Jelavic turned the ball home to secure the win.
Story first published on: Monday, 10 December 2012 11:12 IST