Everton are among the upwardly mobile, and real Champions League contenders
Everton rediscovered the knack of turning a draw into a win against Tottenham
How to celebrate an important victory without getting too carried away? It is not in the character of David Moyes to proclaim his own work, nor is it the habit of his players to trumpet theirs. Yet there is an unmistakable determination about Everton, exemplified by the refusal to surrender the points in a tight game against Spurs, that might yet send them into Champions League nirvana.
Only four points separate Everton in fourth and 11th placed West Ham. In the chasing posse are Liverpool, whose surge into the top half of the table has fired imaginations in the red half of Merseyside about claiming that sought-after Champions League spot. Everton climbed above Spurs only on goal difference after the late salvo that secured Sunday’s 2-1 win. On Saturday they travel to Stoke, an experience tailor made to bring the upwardly mobile to order.
In a season as competitive as this it is proving to be the team that prevails will be the one that deals best with close encounters of the Spurs kind. The goal that brought them level, scored on the stroke of full-time, was Everton’s 1000th in the Premier League. The scorer, Steven Pienaar, an exile returned from Tottenham, believes it bore the hallmarks of a team capable of making the leap to Europe’s high table.
“The guys want to work hard and achieve something. Maybe at the end of the season there will be a celebration. We started the season really well. We were maybe getting over confident, giving games away and too many draws. This win is important for us. We didn’t deserve to go one down. We had chances, the final pass was not that good, but we kept going.”
The equaliser from a cross by Seamus Coleman had a rarity value commensurate with a landmark finish. “I was quite pleased with it,” Pienaar said. “The last one I scored (header) was in 2001 for Ajax. The timing was perfect. It was a special goal.”
After a run of seven draws in nine games the victory, achieved via Nikica Jelavic’s instinctive prod 88 seconds after Pienaar’s bullet header against a Spurs team that started the match in fourth, affects a shift in attitude and confidence that was recognised by Phil Jagielka. “It will be nice not to be looking up 15 or 16 places to the top of the Premiership at Christmas. We have given ourselves a great platform now. We have to perform well for the rest of season. It is up to manager to keep players focused and we have to maintain our good form and stay up there.
“We have great characters we in the dressing room. The confidence throughout the squad is high. We had a good start to the season but we have drawn too many, turning winning positions into draws. It was nice to come from a losing position to gain three points this time. It jumps us up the table against a team that had been on a great run themselves.”
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food