4 October 2012 21:37
Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar says they cannot judge the success of their start to the new Premier League campaign until 10 games in.
Everton sit third in the English top flight following four wins, one draw and a solitary defeat in their opening six fixtures.
But the South African believes the Merseyside outfit have achieved nothing yet 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,” he 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 hailed the quality among the squad and claimed that the team can go on to qualify for Europe this season.
“(The start) hasn’t exceeded my expectations,” he 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 lavish in his praise of team-mate Marouane Fellaini, who has enjoyed a blistering start to the season, including scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
“He’s a big guy but technically he is great with the ball so he brings something different,” the midfielder 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.”