Everton skipper Phil Neville is adamant a place in next season's Champions League remains a realistic aim despite his side's faltering start to the season.
David Moyes' Toffees are already out of the Carling and UEFA Cups after falling at the first hurdle in the space of eight days this month, and in the Barclays Premier League, Everton are the only team to have lost all three home matches, conceding eight goals in the process.
But, speaking of Everton's fifth-placed finish last term, Neville said: "The reason we probably didn't push Liverpool further last season was because of the number of games we played in the cups."
He added: "So we've no excuses this year. We're obviously low at the moment, but we can really push for that fourth place.
"It has to be our aim, and if it's not then we might as well pack up our bags and call an end to the season now.
"But the manager won't let us think of anything other than aiming for that fourth place. A couple of wins and we're right back in the hunt."
Sunday's visitors to Merseyside are Newcastle, a team in crisis on and off the pitch - and one Everton fans will be expecting to beat despite their wretched home form.
The 31-year-old knows it is time he and his team-mates earned their support, adding: "There's no point sulking about going out of the UEFA Cup.
"We have to get our heads up and move up the league, but we need to start winning our home games.
"We've not given our fans anything to shout about at home, and it's about time we did. We owe them a performance. So let's get three points and put a smile on the faces of our fans who came into the season with very high expectations - up until now we have let them down."
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