Speaking to ESPN FC, former Chelsea, Celtic and Derby player Burley has admitted that Everton are a surprising contender to finish in the top four this season, along with Tottenham and Liverpool.
He said: “With Chelsea out of the equation, there is a big chance for Liverpool, Tottenham, and possibly even Everton to reach that summit this year, and get into the Champions League next year, thus being able to bring in a better quality of player.”
Whilst Spurs and Liverpool are consistently referenced as likely top four competitors, Everton have rarely been mentioned this season as a side who could secure Champions League football this term.
This is despite the fact that the Toffees have consistently finished in the Europa League places across recent history, and who look to have improved upon their poor campaign from last year.
Roberto Martinez has his team playing a more all-round style of football, and it is having a positive impact upon results, with the Merseyside outfit now on 17 points from 12 games. They are seven points off fourth place Manchester United, and only four behind Tottenham in fifth.
Everton are also ahead of Liverpool on goal difference, but no one has expressed a belief that they can finish in the top four, despite the Reds being named as a likely team to take that final Champions League spot.
Tottenham are the favourites to take fourth spot in the Premier League, and they are currently closest to the top four. But with Chelsea struggling this term, many other teams can realistically believe in qualifying for Champions League football, with Everton certainly in the mix.