Everton manager David Moyes refused to celebrate his side's achievement in finishing seventh in the Premier League, higher than local rivals Liverpool, following their 3-1 end-of-season victory over Newcastle.
The Toffees beat the Champions League hopefuls to give Moyes back-to-back seventh-placed campaigns, but did not qualify for Europe and the Scot was keen to play down the significance of eclipsing the Reds.
“I just wanted to finish as high up the Premier League table as I could and it didn’t really bother me who you finish above,” Moyes told the press after the game.
“I don’t think you can celebrate seventh. We have been brought up that you finish in first and maybe, in the Premier League, if you get the Champions League or even if you finish in Europe. If we had finished seventh and got into Europe then I think that would have been worth shouting about.
“We played brilliantly today, but we have been playing in that fashion for last few months really and it was really good to watch.”
Everton did not enjoy the best of starts to the campaign but a superb run in the second half of the term was sparked into life by a number of smart January acquisitions.
Nikica Jelavic, a £5 million winter buy from Rangers, scored his ninth Premier League goal against the Magpies and Moyes claimed that the impact of his signings were a welcome boost.
“It has been the best January I have ever had as in the main January is not really a month that I do business – maybe a loan player here or there - but we had a great January and we needed it because we weren’t in a good position," he explained.
“We will try and build on it and we should start the season better and take this form into next year. We are trying to play better, get better player in trying to improve all the time but that’s not easy and sometimes we have to do it long way here at Everton because we can’t just go and spend the cash.
“I thought today we looked like the side that could have quite easily have been pushing for a top-four finish today.
“I take a lot that we have played that well and shown but we have done this on quite a few years where we have played well in some pockets of the season but we needed to bring in those players in January.”