DAVID MOYES conceded that Everton's hopes of a top-four finish were slim after they succumbed to a painful late defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Two goals in the final six minutes, from Kei Kamara and Grant Holt, condemned the Blues to an unlikely defeat in Norfolk. Moyes' men had looked comfortable throughout, and led for the bulk of the match thanks to Leon Osman's first-half header.
The loss leaves them six points behind Tottenham in fourth place, and looking over their shoulder at the likes of West Brom and Liverpool. Moyes admits their chances of securing Champions League football next season are fading fast.
“It is one game out of 11 or 12 that we had before today, so there is still chances for us to do it,” he said. “But we are going to have to be very good to do it.
“All defeats are hard to take, but this one is hard because we should have been good enough to see it out. If we have any real ambitions then we've got to make sure that we win that game.
“Or if the worst happens, then we should see out a draw. I think we were unfairly dealt with today, though we should still deal with it ourselves.”
Moyes was critical of referee Lee Mason's decision to allow the game to run to a fourth minute of added time. Holt's winner arrived 16 seconds after the allotted three minutes, though that figure is issued to referees only as a minimum guideline. Referees have the discretion to add on extra time if they feel it necessary.
“I can't understand why he plays three minutes 20 seconds for the goal,” said Moyes. “If you add on three minutes' added time for 45 minutes in the second half, then I think 20 seconds sounds like a big percentage to add on top of that.
“He's got discretion to do what he likes, but I disagree with his discretion today.
“He didn't give any explanation. It's his discretion isn't it? But they can make up anything from that, can't they? I disagree with his discretion on this occasion.”
Moyes also believed his side should have capitalised on the advantage given to them by Osman's goal, but said their play in the final third was not good enough.
“In the second half we were wasteful,” he said. “We had opportunities to score a second and a third goal, but we didn't, and we were always going to be put under pressure at the end.
“We controlled the game, we passed it well enough and tried to do the right things, but we weren't good enough in the final third.
“But one thing is for sure, we didn't deserve to lose the game. That's a given.”