Manager David Moyes said his players provided just the reaction he’d hoped for after watching Everton stun Manchester City at Goodison Park.
On the back of last weekend’s FA Cup disappointment against Wigan, the Blues dominated proceedings against the champions, with Leon Osman's sublime strike and Nikica Jelavic's injury-time effort sealing three points despite the hour-mark dismissal of Steven Pienaar.
"I'd have been disappointed and surprised if we hadn't had a reaction but the players did great today," said Moyes. "We played the champions of England and I thought we gave them a right good going for their money.
"The players knew that we were rubbish last week. We've been very good all season and you're watching a very good Everton side - the best I've had.
"Their football is excellent and we've got internationals in pretty much every position. We've created as many chances as most teams in the Premier League, so there's a lot of good things about Everton."
Referee Lee Probert had a busy afternoon, with Roberto Mancini displeased to only receive a free-kick as opposed to a penalty for a handball by Marouane Fellaini in the dying minutes.
But with Pienaar's sending off - a second yellow coming for a late tackle on Javi Garcia - as well as a harshly disallowed Kevin Mirallas goal, Moyes had his own reasons to question the officials.
"The sending off was a terrible decision,” he said. “The boy [Garcia] rolls about three times when it happens and there's hardly any contact, so I thought it was the wrong decision.
"We had played well before that point. We scored a goal in the first half that was onside, but we didn't get it. I thought they had got a penalty but it wasn't in the box so I can't argue with that, but the decision for us to be under that much pressure I thought was wrong. It went for us in the end, so I'm not going to complain.
"If you watch Everton regularly, you'd have to say today is typically what we do. I thought we played really well in the first half and in the second, when down to 10 men, we did what Everton did 11 years ago when I took over. We were resilient, hard to beat.
“We made sure the opposition didn't score and threw ourselves on the line for the team. The players showed they were a team and the performance against Wigan is one that doesn't happen very often.
"We've got a tough run-in, we play a lot of the top teams and we're going to have to take one game at a time if we can. Today makes people realise we've not gone away - we're still there."
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