Ronald Koeman bemoaned the softness of Tottenham's second and third goals in Everton's 3-2 loss at White Hart Lane, but concedes the home side were worthy winners in Sunday's Premier League contest.
The Toffees travelled to north London in fine form having gone unbeaten in the league in 2017, but were up against it when Harry Kane's fine long-range strike put Spurs into a half-time lead.
However, Kane was the beneficiary of poor Everton defending to score his second after Morgan Schneiderlin and Ashley Williams failed to deal with Joel's ill-advised throw.
Romelu Lukaku halved the arrears to become Everton's all-time leading Premier League scorer, but the visitors were caught flat-footed by Dele Alli's third and, although Enner Valencia grabbed a late consolation, that proved crucial for Tottenham.
"It was a difficult game, really Tottenham are very strong. Overall, they were the better team but we fought until the last second," he told Sky Sports.
"Of course we made some mistakes, we know if you make mistakes like the second goal and the third goal it's too easy.
"I think we did well, we know the qualities of Tottenham at home. I think until the 1-0 we had good organisation in the team. It was difficult, we had a good counter-attack and you need composure on the goal. Until the last second we had a chance to get a point - maybe not deserved but that's football."
Koeman added that he believes Tottenham, who close to within seven points of leaders Chelsea, can be a benchmark against which his Everton side can be measured against.
"Tottenham have two or three years in a row with the same players, it's all about time which is what we need to have," he added.
"If we get the time to improve, that's the next step for the club."
Much of the pre-match build-up had been about the battle between the league's leading marksmen in Kane and Lukaku.
Koeman insists there was more to the match than the in-form strikers, but recognised the quality of both players.
"Romelu Lukaku showed again he's so strong and dangerous and if he gets a chance it's a goal," he said.
"It wasn't a competition between the strikers - but he and Harry Kane both showed their quality of finishing."