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Everton boss Roberto Martinez is still earning plaudits for his debut season in charge of the Toffees after guiding them to fifth place. Europa qualification is now guaranteed for the club and Martinez has refuted claims that Everton over-achieved this season, suggesting that the squad feels that they can do even better next season.
"I feel if you asked the players they’d say they don’t feel like they over-achieved in getting that number of points," said Martinez. "They would tell you they feel we can do better. That has to be the aim; to improve. ourselves. It won’t be easy but we know if we try our best and give everything we can progress. Now we need to cope with the European demands and feel comfortable dealing with those expectations."
In order to remain competitive in the Premier League whilst navigating through their Europa League campaign, Martinez will need to add depth to his squad. It would be a huge boost to get Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz back to full fitness after a stop-start season following his move from Wigan Athletic last summer, and the 31-year-old says he will move on from a disappointing term.
"On a personal level, it’s one [season] to put behind me," Alcaraz told evertontv. "It’s one to forget almost as it’s been full of negatives on a personal level. But it’s gone now and it’s not worth looking back and feeling sorry for yourself. You have to look ahead, be positive and I’m looking forward to next season and hoping for better things."
Whilst adding depth is key for Martinez, they also have the task of replacing striker Romelu Lukaku, who will return to Chelsea upon the expiration of his loan deal this summer. One of the rumoured targets is now Fenerbahce striker Emmanuel Emenike, who will be featuring for Nigeria at this summer's World Cup in Brazil. The athletic striker, 27, hit 12 goals in 28 appearances for the Turkish outfit this season but is now a target for Everton and Premier League rivals Tottenham.