Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has talked up Everton's progress under Roberto Martinez ahead of Saturday's crucial Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
The visitors desperately need all three points as they look to snatch the title from under the noses of Liverpool, while Everton will also be going all out for a victory that would keep them in the hunt for Champions League football.
Pellegrini, who has been boosted by the news that key playmaker David Silva will be fit to play, said: "I think Everton at any stage of the season will always be a difficult team.
"They play very well, Roberto (Martinez) is doing a very good job there, the same way he did before at Wigan. He is playing for Champions League, Europa League.
"We don't expect anything at Everton. We are sure we are going to have a very tough game there."
Pellegrini dismissed suggestions that Everton will be mindful of the fact that beating City could potentially hand the Premier League crown to bitter rivals Liverpool.
He added: "The feeling outside will not decide the match. I think the Everton players will try to win the game."
On the improvement in morale since regaining the initiative in the race for the title, Pellegrini said: "Of course, when you just depend on what you can do it is better for all the players.
"After we lost against Liverpool, maybe the mood wasn't the same. That's maybe why we didn't play so well against Sunderland.
"At the moment the motivation is very high, now it is important that the performance also must be high."
Watch Everton take on Manchester City live on Sky Sports 1 at 5.30pm on Saturday.