Carlo Ancelotti says Everton's season has been underpinned by three factors.

One: Attitude. Two: Spirit. And three: the team's away form.

Ancelotti is absolutely right but he's missed out a fourth reason as to why the Blues still find themselves in the fight for Europe with four games of the season to go: getting their noses in front.

Remarkably, 50 of the 55 points which have Everton breathing down the necks of Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and West Ham United, have come when Ancelotti's side have taken the lead.

Only once this season have the Blues taken the lead and lost.

If last weekend's defeat to Aston Villa was this Blues' squad at their worst then this win at the London Stadium was Everton showing the very best of themselves.

Sure, it's limited, gritty and often difficult to watch, but with such a points haul, and with 12 more to play for, it's been effective.

As Ancelotti accepted in the build-up to this, they have to become a more attractive team next season if they are going to take the step up and move into top four contention but, for now and the remaining games of the season, Everton will have to show attitude and spirit – at home as well as away – and keep taking the lead in games, if they are to qualify for Europe.

“We are not going to change our style, our attitude. It is important to be brave,” Ancelotti said, prophetically, before kick-off.

Everton defended bravely, for sure. And as for their style, this was an archetypal Everton performance, away from home, under Ancelotti.

In a game that the Italian, essentially, said was win or bust for the club's hopes of reaching Europe this season, the Blues went back to what has served them well and they deserve credit for producing the goods in such a high-pressure situation.

Because when Ben Godfrey's pass sent Dominic Calvert-Lewin in behind the West Ham defence – a “terrible” goal to concede according to David Moyes - and the team's top-scorer found the bottom corner of Lukasz Fabianski's net after just over a quarter of the game, the dye was cast and the challenge was set to West Ham.

Go on then, see if you can break us down. They couldn't.

West Ham hit the inside of the post but they couldn't muster a shot on target.

Moyes has done a sensational job this season but you could see him become increasingly agitated in his technical area because with each headed clearance from Michael Keane, with each block from Godfrey, each recovery from Seamus Coleman and with every over-hit cross, time was draining away.

He knew more than anyone at West Ham today that having to chase the game against this Everton side was not the position they wanted to be in.

No wonder he looked stony faced at the end and no wonder Ancelotti celebrated this win as joyfully as any other this season.

It was win or bust, remember? Lose and Europe was off the table. Win and it was slap bang back in the middle of it.

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After embracing his backroom staff, and reserving a deep hug for his son Davide, he turned, looked towards those in the directors' box and waved triumphantly towards Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright.

They saluted him in kind.

Defending a slender lead is never a comfortable experience. It won't have been for any of the Everton officials here today.

As the game entered the dying stages, Duncan Ferguson was off his seat and standing behind Ancelotti in the technical area.

He looked as though the tension was getting to him, burying his head into hands in disbelief when Everton gave the ball away cheaply when in a good position to attack.

But Big Dunc, just like Moshiri and Kenwright, know that this Blues team can protect leads and away from home is where they are at their best.

That's now 36 points picked up on the road this season, including 11 wins. This was a copycat performance of so many of them.

It should – and could – have been more comfortable but Everton wasted a number of decent openings on the counter-attack and then saw Josh King, introduced late on, head against the post.

But one goal, as it has been on five other occasions this season, was all Everton needed. They also needed little of the ball.

“We are not a possession team,” Ancelotti said afterwards. After winning with just 31% of the ball, he wasn't kidding.

But, clearly, being more dominant with the ball and becoming a more attacking team is on his mind, yet it can wait for the summer transfer window and next season.

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Spirit and attitude will get this Everton team to where they are meant to finish this term. Playing away from home helps significantly, and trips to Aston Villa and Manchester City are to come.

But home games with relegated Sheffield United and a Wolverhampton Wanderers team with nothing to play for, offer the Blues an opportunity they cannot afford to pass up.

Let's see what happens at Goodison next Sunday because we all know how it has gone at home this season.

But getting their noses in front has been a key component in Everton making the most of these last four games.

At times this season, it has felt as though the Blues have succeeded in damaging themselves, but when they get in front, they are hard to beat.

Just ask Moyes.