Everton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin insists they cannot get carried away by recent good performances as the path to Champions League football is a long one.
A nine-match unbeaten league run - including a 4-0 win over Manchester City - was ended by a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday and effectively ended their hopes of snatching a top-four place.
Ronald Koeman's side are now eight points adrift of neighbours Liverpool, who currently occupy fourth spot, and trail sixth-placed Manchester United by five points.
Schneiderlin admits they have to take it one place at a time
"I signed here because I believe in the project. I have the belief this club will push forward," he said in a question and answer session on Everton's Facebook page.
"Top five this season is going to be hard. This club needs to take time and not get carried away too much because we have had some good results, but keep improving every day and then in the near future we can challenge for the top five.
"Next year the manager will bring in some more players to improve the team and hopefully we can push to that top five in the Premier League.
"I am sure the club dreams of a Champions League place and maybe in a few years' time we can (give) that to them."
Fellow midfielder Muhamed Besic has not ruled out playing in the Premier League this season, having been sidelined by a cruciate knee ligament injury on the eve of the campaign.
"I would play a game now for Everton's first team, but there are people who know better and they will take care of me," he told evertonfc.com after rejoining his team-mates for training.
"Probably I will play one, two or three games for the under-23s.
"If I get a some (Premier League) games that would be great, but I'm not looking too far. I just look from day to day and train until the medical staff say I am ready."
Meanwhile, winger Yannick Bolasie is recovering from a second knee operation.
The DR Congo international underwent planned surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament having previously had a torn meniscus fixed.
"Just come out my second operation. All the healing from the first operation has been great according to my surgeon and I am just in a little bit of pain," Bolasie said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
"Thanks for the support. By the time you know it the kid's going to be back."