Everton manager Roberto Martinez admitted that he gambled in the transfer market last month, but that he is confident of a top four finish.
The Toffees chief drafted in Lacina Traore and Aiden McGeady to add to his squad in a bid to build on the impressive start to the season.
Despite a 4-0 Merseyside derby hammering at the hands of Liverpool, the Goodison Park side are still firmly in the hunt for fourth spot, and made up lost ground with a weekend win over Aston Villa.
Although they are in direct competition with their local rivals as well as Tottenham and Manchester United, Martinez feels that his team can make a serious push for Champions League qualification.
“It was an exciting performance because it shows we can challenge in the final third of the season,” Martinez told The Mirror.
“You don’t get a harder test of a team than on the back of a derby defeat, the way that it hurt everyone, and then conceding a goal to be behind like that.
“That sort of adversity is going to tell you an awful lot about a group of players and how you are going to finish the season.
“For me, it answered so many questions about the players and showed we are going to see a much stronger Everton.”
Everton beat competition from West Ham to land Traore, and also swooped to secure McGeady for a nominal fee from Spartak Moscow.