Kevin Kilbane analyses Everton's season, claims they should be competing with Tottenham

Kevin Kilbane believes Everton's poor defence is the difference between them and Tottenham.

Pundit Kevin Kilbane has told BBC Sport's 5 Live Football Daily Show that he thinks Everton should be competing with Tottenham Hotspur in and around the top six.

The Toffees beat Newcastle United 3-0 at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening, handing them their first Premier League victory since Boxing Day - which ironically also came against Newcastle.

It was a much-needed win for manager Roberto Martinez, who has come in for huge criticism this season for Everton's performances in the Premier League.

With just seven wins so far this term, only five teams have won fewer games, and the general consensus is that Everton are massively underachieving this season, given the quality of their players.

The likes of John Stones, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukkau are some of the brightest young players in the top flight, whilst Martinez also has established stars like Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, James McCarthy and Gareth Barry at his disposal too.

Everton currently sit 13 points off the Champions League places, and even Europa League qualification looks some way off right now, unless Martinez can spark a great run of form.

Now, former Everton ace and current pundit Kevin Kilbane has told BBC Sport's 5 Live Football Daily Show that he thinks Everton should be challenging with Tottenham - who are going for the title this season - but their defensive problems are putting them behind the top teams.

"They are a top six side, with the players that they've got and the talent they've got in that side," said Kilbane. "They should be competing for Europe, I think. That's where they need to be at now, and that's maybe the expectations that Roberto Martinez put into the side himself a couple of seasons ago."

"Last season was a big failure, I think overall, with the player that they've got, they should be around those top four places. They should be competing with the likes of Tottenham, they should be competing with the likes of Liverpool and even Manchester United, because they're that good as a team going forward, it's just they're so poor defensively," he added.

Everton have conceded 34 goals this season, whereas Spurs and United have conceded 19 and 21 goals respectively, but the Toffees have scored far more goals than United and just one fewer than Tottenham - showing that Kilbane may be right in his assertion about Everton's defence this season.

Should Everton be challenging for a top four place?

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch