The South African midfielder has played a crucial role in the Toffees' impressive early-season form, but he insists that there is to be done before judging the club's success.Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar insists that his side cannot judge the success of its start to the new Premier League campaign until 10 games in.
The notoriously slow-starting Toffees currently sit third in the English top flight following four wins, one draw and a solitary defeat in their opening six fixtures. Pienaar believes that the Merseyside outfit has not achieved anything yet, though, and must continue working to stay ahead of their rivals.
"We are not there yet. After 10 games we can say how well we have done," Pienaar told the Liverpool Daily Post. "At the moment we are still working towards a good start so we must wait and see. It's a good feeling for the guys. We have been working really hard and it's important to get the points to make sure we break away from the other teams below us. But there's still a long way to go."
The 30-year-old South African also hailed the quality among manager David Moyes' squad and claimed that the club can go on to qualify for Europe this year.
"[The start] hasn't exceeded my expectations," Pienaar said. "The manager asked for us to start the season well and, to be honest, the way we ended last season, it's no wonder we've carried that form on. I said when I rejoined Everton that with the quality we have and because the team has been together for a few years, I think it is time for us to achieve something. Finishing in the top five or top six is something we have to push ourselves to deliver. We have to push the bar that bit higher."
Pienaar was particularly effusive in his praise of teammate Marouane Fellaini, who has enjoyed a blistering start to the season, including scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
|"When I see him I feel confident. He brings that presence with him out onto the pitch and that lifts the players around him"
- Steven Pienaar on Marouane Fellaini
"He’s a big guy, but technically he is great with the ball so he brings something different," Pienaar said. "When we played Man United we knew it was going to be a hard game if we wanted to match them possession-wise but he was central to us doing that. He comes out of the tunnel in front of me every game so I don't see much when we walk out! But when I see him I feel confident. He brings that presence with him out on to the pitch and that lifts the players around him."
The Johannesburg-born midfielder, who announced his retirement from international duty on Tuesday, noted that the camaraderie in the Everton camp has played a role in the club's good form.
"The team spirit is very healthy," he continued. "We all want to work for each other and we sense that maybe this season something special will come.
"We need to keep on going and not get carried away. There is always a good vibe in the dressing room, there are no egos. I think that is important.
"If there are egos there are going to be problems. Here there is one boss and it works."