David Moyes believes upcoming high-pressure games will bring the best out of his players as they head towards the season's finish line.
Everton have eight crunch fixtures in which to keep their European aspirations alive – four of which are away to teams also aiming to qualify for continental competition next term.
The Blues start their run-in at White Hart Lane before returning to North London in just over a week to face fellow top-four hopefuls Arsenal.
With fixtures at Liverpool and Chelsea to play in May, every point is set to prove crucial to the cause.
Moyes admits Everton are currently big underdogs and that one or two ‘surprise’ results will be needed to boost their chances.
But after watching his team record three wins on the bounce at home in March, the Toffees boss is remaining quietly optimistic his charges will thrive in the ‘big game’ environment.
“There are a lot of things at stake now,” said Moyes. “I hope that keeps us fully focused, which I’m sure it will do. We’ve tended to be strong come the end of the season.
“I always remember the year we did qualify for the Champions League, we had to win one big game in the last five or six games, and we beat Manchester United at home 1-0. Duncan [Ferguson] scored the goal.
“I think we are a little bit behind that and as I have said many times, we are not expected to get there. It would be a surprise if we do. We might just need to win one or two on the road and surprise some teams if we are to have any chance of making it.”
“It's never easy to win three home games in a row,” the Scot added. “Folk think that's an easy thing to do, it's not and we did it.
“I think the players can handle the expectations and I'd like more of it. If we could beat Tottenham and the media started talking about us having a real chance then I think we would really like that coming into the last month or so.”
Victory at White Hart Lane would put Everton within three points of Tottenham, who have also played a game more than the Blues.
Furthermore, Spurs are face tricky-looking games against Chelsea and Manchester City in the final weeks of the season.
“They'll [Tottenham] be thinking if they win they'll go nine points ahead of us,” Moyes continued. “But I've been there myself when you're getting chased down and it's not easy. We'll try to do that."