David Moyes believes Everton deserved their 2-1 victory over Bolton, although he accepted the Blues were nowhere near their best at the Reebok Stadium.
Second-half substitute John Heitinga scored a dramatic late winner to put Everton into the fifth round of the FA Cup for the third season in succession.
Up until the Dutchman’s late strike, the tie had been destined for a replay after Marvin Sordell cancelled out Steven Pienaar’s early goal.
“When you are not at your best the job you have got to try to do is win. That’s the way I look at today – we won without playing particularly well,” Moyes said.
“We are not playing well enough in certain areas and we’ve got a few who are just a little bit off-colour at the minute.
“Because of that, it’s noticeable [when we don’t play at our best]. That’s what happens when you set high standards.”
The second 45 minutes were played in typical FA Cup fashion, with both teams going all out to ensure their name was in the draw for the last 16 of the competition.
Moyes continued: “Losing Kevin Mirallas upset us, mainly before we got to half-time, but I thought we had done enough in the second half to just about win the game.
“I didn’t think we made enough chances, but we have done well. We are in the hat and that was never going to be easy.
“I can’t come out and say we thoroughly deserved it because Bolton would have been hoping they had earned a draw out of it, and for long periods it was looking as though it was going to be a draw.
“But I think that if there was any team that just about deserved to win it, it was Everton on the day.”
Moyes also explained his reasons for replacing striker Nikica Jelavic with defender Heitinga in the second half – a decision that was fully justified come the final whistle.
“Tactically we had to see if we could find a goal and we thought that pushing Felli [Fellaini] further forward might have been the answer to it,” added Moyes.
“We were limited because we didn’t have any other midfielders on the bench, so we put Johnny in and pushed Felli further forward, and thankfully it was Johnny who got us the goal.
“It was a great goal. He caught it sweetly at the edge of the box. It was an important goal for us because it means we don’t have a replay to play and another game.
“We can now look forward to being in the draw.”