Carlo Ancelotti says not one of Everton's Premier League rivals will have expected them to be challenging for the top four this season.
But the Blues boss declared his side as "in the fight" after a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion sent them into the Champions League qualification places with just 12 games of the season to go.
Before the game at the Hawthorns, Ancelotti said it would be important to "touch" fourth place, even if other results changed the table again later in the evening.
And now the Everton boss says his side are defying the expectations of their rivals by being in the mix for the top four.
"I feel good," Ancelotti said. "I feel really good if I look at the table, really happy.
"But there are two problems: first, I don't know for how long it will be for and second, unfortunately the season did not finish today.
"But we are pleased to be there."
He added: "I think that at the start of the season, no-one could say that Everton, after 26 games, would be there in the top four.
"But this is deserved, well deserved from my team because they are working really well."
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Asked if Everton's rivals would still question their staying power in the top four race, he said: "I don't know if they underestimate us.
"I know we have to be focused. I talk to the players about the dream the Champions League will be and they are focused to follow this dream because it's a step in the career of everyone.
"Most of the players didn't play one game in the Champions League and so we are there in the fight and we are happy to be in the fight.
"But for the fight we need to sacrifice until the end."