Everton face new challenge with Europa League

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Everton return to European action on Thursday night for the first time since 2010.

Roberto Martinez spent the first-half of the week preparing his team for tonight's clash against the Germans VfL Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Previous appearance 

The Toffees saw their last action in European stages almost five years ago, also in in the lower tier of European football, the Europa League.

But their campaign did not last long as they reached the Round of 32 before being defeated 4-2 on aggregate against Sporting.

However, they finished fifth in the Premier League table last season and now are ready to go further with a strong side in with Martinez in the hot seat.

Potential winners

Since the 2009-2010 season where they finished eighth in domestic Everton has not stopped improving.

In the 2010-2011 campaign and the following seasons they managed to finish seventh, then, sixth in the 2012-2013 campaign and most recently, they showed fine form to finish fifth just above Tottenham Hotspur last term.

Although Everton did not start the Premier League well this year, losing to a strong Chelsea side 6-3 and drawing 2-2 with Arsenal on home turf, the Europa League could be where they enjoy immediate success.

Having secured permanently Romelu Lukaku's services - forking out £32 million - and also Samuel Eto'o, Martinez added some top qualities and experience upfront, which should help out considerably.

And with Gareth Barry committing to the club for three-years by joining on free transfer, Martinez added another good player to his squad. His experience in the Premier League with Aston Villa and Man City and also on international stages with England will bring some stability to Everton's central midfield.

Aiming higher and higher

It will be difficult for Everton to achieve a top four finish at the end of the season, with the strong sides present in the Premier League, however, winning the Europa League would still guide them to the next level, as this year's winners get a place in the Champions League.

This Europa League campaign will be a very entertaining one with the likes of Napoli, Internazionale, Sevilla, Villarreal, or again Tottenham Hotspur, and it will give Everton the experience they just need to improve and reach another level of football.

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