Manager David Moyes believes Everton have more than proved their Premier League credentials but stopped short of putting his Newcastle United counterpart, Alan Pardew, in his place.
On the final day of last season the high-flying Magpies arrived at Goodison Park with Pardew claiming his side were operating in a different league to their Merseyside opponents, who were on a great run of form themselves. They departed having been on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline but, with the two teams set to meet again on Merseyside tonight, Moyes was not interested in dredging up old arguments.
"People can say what they like in terms of where Everton are compared to Newcastle," said the Scot.
"Alan and Newcastle did a really good job and deservedly have found themselves in Europe this year. They kept it going when a lot of people thought they would fade away.
"For a long time they were very close to being a Champions League team. But we have been in strong positions. They finished above us last season. You are only as good as your last one and in the last one they did better than us."
Everton's first defeat of the season – at West Bromwich Albion – immediately before the international break will no doubt have been festering with Moyes. However, having had a fine start to the campaign with six points from three matches, he is relatively happy with how things have gone.
"I am looking forward to it and I think everyone is," he said. "At this time of year, with so many international breaks, you find it hard to get into a rhythm. I think it is disruptive at this time of year. There is a break in September, October and November, so all the leagues are broken up in these months.
"But I can't be disappointed with the way the players have started the season, they have performed the way we hoped they would do."
Everton, who will display messages of support for the 96 victims of Hillsborough on their jumbo screen for the match, have won their previous six matches at Goodison in all competitions, beating Manchester United in their last league outing, also on a Monday evening.
"We hope it is the same as the last Monday night game," he said. "I've been pleased with parts of our start. We've won two league games out of three."Reuse content