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Everton's bid for the top four took a huge hit this weekend, as Roberto Martinez's side suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of Southampton, leaving them one point behind Arsenal - who play Newcastle United tonight, where they can open up a four point gap over the Toffees.
Despite games running out, goalkeeper Tim Howard still believes that there is still a chance that Everton can steal a Champions League place, starting with the visit of Manchester City this weekend, saying that they will move on from the Southampton defeat.
"Hopefully we'll brush it aside as a one-off and we'll have it all to do against Manchester City. It will be wide open, a tactical battle with top players on display. Those games take care of themselves. Those are the easy games to play in," said the American.
Whilst the immediate attention is on the race for the top four, manager Martinez is already casting an eye towards next term, where he believes Everton can emulate their city rivals Liverpool and challenge for the Premier League title.
“This team is capable of competing with anyone,” said Martinez. “What Liverpool have done this season is open up the perception of everyone and show you should be able to expect – or try – to win the league with a strong team. It’s not like at the start of the season and people are telling you you’ve not a chance of winning the league because last season you finished seventh or whatever, or because you haven’t got the finances of others.
“This season they’ve shown if you concentrate on what you do, if you’re strong and good enough at what you do, you have an opportunity," he added.
To do that, Everton may need to strengthen their squad this summer, and former Wigan Athletic manager Martinez says he wants six or seven new signings in order to compete both in the Premier League and in Europe, whether that be the Champions League or Europa League.
"It's not about improving - it's about increasing," Martinez said. "When you're playing in Europe you need to have another six or seven and that's the reality and we will do that - it's not an issue. Every summer is busy. We signed 10 players in the previous two windows and that's what you expect from window to window.
"I never worry about losing players. It's the opposite - I get excited about bringing new players in. You need fresh blood," he concluded.