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Everton may be out of the FA Cup, but manager Roberto Martinez is refusing to let the season peter out, and is still quietly hopeful of breaking into the top four and securing Champions League qualification. It seems unlikely, but Martinez will fight until it's mathematically impossible, and still considers Europa League qualification as a great achievement despite many people considering it to be a distraction rather than a success.
“Getting into Europe is a big objective and something that would allow us to grow as a football club,” Martinez said. “Qualifying for Europe for us would be a massive step forward because it would bring massive football occasions that I do feel we need to be able to develop into the type of team we want to be."
“We have 48 points and that is a good return. Can we get top four? Mathematically, we can. You look at the points tally you might need to get in those positions and that is still achievable. Then after that you’ve got the Europa League qualification which is another important aim to fight for."
“It would be easy for us to say that we don’t want to qualify for Europe and just let the season cruise through. That’s not the case at all.”
A large part of Everton's success this season has been down the influence of Gareth Barry in the Toffees' midfield, and the Manchester City loanee has been rewarded for his fine displays with the player of the month award for Everton. The 33-year-old has been excellent all season, and could make a push for England's World Cup squad this summer.
Whilst Martinez will be hoping to sign Barry permanently, he's also eyeing up other players and striker Karim Bellarabi has reportedly caught his eye. The Bayer Leverkusen man is currently on loan at Eintracht Braunschweig, and his impressive displays have alerted Stoke City and Southampton as well.