Alastair Grant/Associated Press
No matter what happens between now and the end of the season, few Everton supporters will denounce Roberto Martinez's first season in charge as anything other than a success.
The former Wigan Athletic boss swiftly wiped away any lingering question marks about replacing David Moyes with a swaggering brand of football and a notable foray into the loan transfer market in the summer.
Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and, notably, Gareth Barry have all made their mark on the first team this season, while the players who worked under Moyes have adapted well to Martinez's demand for a passing game.
What has also been interesting is the reaction of other supporters to Martinez and his likeable, laid-back attitude in pre- and post-match interviews.
So his outburst following the late defeat at Chelsea last weekend, as reported by Dave Kidd of the Sunday People, came as a surprise to many.
After a harsh free-kick was awarded against Phil Jagielka in the build-up to John Terry's 93rd-minute winner, the Spaniard was quoted as saying:
Chelsea have an incredible know-how of how to win dead-ball situations. They use every trick in the book.
Ramires was looking for contact when he won the free-kick and it was very soft. The same sort of thing happened four or five times in the second half.
It was impossible for the referee. I can’t blame (him) because would he have needed magic to know whether to award free-kicks or not?
It is no coincidence that they have been unbeaten (under Jose Mourinho) for 74 League matches at home. It can’t just be that they have played well at home every single match.
I couldn’t see Chelsea scoring from open play, but they kept winning free-kicks.
Martinez has not been renowned for losing his temper or displaying any kind of emotion, and there is no suggestion his words were delivered with venom.
But the frustration of losing further ground in the race for the Champions League places was clearly a factor.
Everton had largely dominated the game at Stamford Bridge and victory would have enhanced the team's burgeoning reputation under the former Swansea midfielder.
That Martinez did show his claws was indication enough of the frustration he must feel at the club's current dip in form in the league.
With Lukaku ineligible and Deulofeu only returning from injury, Everton were still able to put up a genuine fight against Mourinho's team. In itself, that is no mean feat.
But Martinez will recognise that the loss of Lukaku, particularly in recent weeks, has served to underline a lack of depth in his squad. The odds were already against him when Lacina Traore was injured in the warm-up, but Steven Naismith proved a capable deputy even if the Blues were unable to find the net.
However, it is unlikely we will be seeing any long-term damage to the relationship between Martinez and Mourinho in the wake of the Everton manager's words.
Believability meter: Medium
The thought of Martinez losing his temper is scarcely believable at the vast majority of times, and the reaction to the loss at Chelsea was merely an instinctive move by the Everton manager.
But the Goodison Park boss must be feeling the frustration of a relatively thin squad as he chases the top four.
Indeed, his first flash of criticism for an opposing team was more indicative of his disappointment rather than any serious character flaw.