Everton defender Phil Jagielka believes departing manager David Moyes will leave behind a great platform for his successor to build on.
The Toffees captain-elect, taking over the armband on a full-time basis next season with Phil Neville also leaving, thinks the new man's first phone call should be to Old Trafford to thank the newly-installed Manchester United boss.
It was a performance the manager felt was worthy of a top-four team and while Everton are currently six points and several players short of that sort of recognition Jagielka insists they can approach the future with optimism.
"The guy has been here 11 years and has transformed the playing staff, the coaching staff, the facilities from top to bottom," said the centre-back.
"In the changing room we are obviously all gutted he will be leaving us next season but we understand the way football is.
"Frustrations must have been high. Teams around us that are potentially not doing as well but getting more finances made it a tough couple of years.
"To the same extent he has probably had the best squad he's had for a long time but he is still leaving that behind and we are still looking forward to next season."
The England international said it was impossible to assess just how big a void Moyes' departure would leave.
"That's a question I can't answer. Ask me in six months or a year's time and we'll find out," he added.
"At the moment he has done a lot for the cub but he is leaving it in a great state.
"For the manager who comes in his first phone call should probably be to David Moyes to thank him for the squad he put together.
"It is going to be an interesting summer to see who does come in but we are proud to have had David Moyes as our manager.
"There are only two players who he hasn't brought in and even those two - Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman - have gone on to have great careers.
"He has done a lot for everyone, not just the players here but others who have gone on to do other things and win trophies - the manager has a big role to play in a lot of people's careers."
Despite not managing to bring a trophy to Everton during his 11 years in charge Moyes is proud of his achievements at the club.
He feels he has benefited immensely from the support he has had at boardroom level and a six-year contract at Old Trafford suggests the United hierarchy have similar faith.
What they will get in return is full-blooded commitment and dedication from a man Neville, who also worked under Sir Alex Ferguson, described yesterday as the hardest-working man he had ever met.
"Because I've been given time and not had any knee-jerk directors, chairman or owners telling me what to do and when to do it I think I have been allowed to get on with my job here," said the Scot.
"That has allowed me to evolve and develop myself. Every year I try to become a better manager and coach, I try to work harder if I can to see if there is a solution to it.
"I think I might have mellowed but I don't know if that is a good thing - I think I might be better if I was a 'baddie' all the time.
"I am still intense but I hope I use it in the right time and right way.
"I try to improve and try to get better every year. The big thing for me is Everton have improved year in, year out."
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce may have been disappointed with his side's performance but was satisfied with their season overall with one match to play.
"I've really enjoyed this season and because we had such a fantastic start we have never been in a threatening position from a relegation point of view," he said.
"That is a massive relief for you as a manager and your players and your club and that in itself has taken us into our position of 10th with one game to go.
"We have never been lower than 12th so it has been an outstanding season for us.
"We have to find more talent and make the squad bigger and better."