Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident that his side can balance a hectic schedule next season and still be in contention for a Champions League place come May.
The Toffees have qualified for the Europa League after a five year absence from the competition, thanks to a fantastic first season at Goodison Park for the Spanish coach.
At one stage Everton had fourth spot within their grasp, but couldn't hold on to it and ended the season in 5th place, seven points behind Arsenal.
Martinez feels that his team have been hard done by because in previous seasons accumulating 72 points would be enough to earn Champions League qualification.
Despite this the Toffees manager believes that his players will be relishing the chance to play in Europe next season, even if it is the relative booby prize of the Europa League.
Speaking to the Everton website Martinez said: “It feels like a real achievement and it’s not like we got European qualification through the back door as a consequence of being fortunate.
“We worked really hard. We wanted to finish in the top four but we just missed out. But we had the right numbers – 72 points would have guaranteed Champions League in eight out of the last 10 seasons.
“So we are very excited and the young players will be looking forward to experiencing that for the first time. The experienced players, I think they are ready to be tested and be part of a very demanding season."
An added incentive for playing in the competition this year is the winners will guaranteed a place in the following season Champions League.
One of the negatives for being in the tournament however is the heavy schedule that is put on the players which can effect league performance.
Swansea and Stoke could both testify to this, with both clubs suffering a loss in form compared to the previous season.
Martinez however wants his team to perform under that pressure of performing to the best of their ability twice a week.
He stated. We do want to put ourselves under massive pressure in terms of performing week in week out in every competition that we are involved in.
“We need to be a team who can cope with those expectations and demands in European football and I have always said that as long as we embrace it, prepare well and give everything we have got, I know that our fans will support us whatever the outcome is.
“That’s a big advantage we have and it comes as a consequence of a very good season. Now we need to build on that and the best possible way is pushing ourselves even further"
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