Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has urged the club and fans to be ‘realistic’ as they eye up a place in the Champions League.
The Blues currently sit seventh in the table with 43 points to their name, a tally that means they are just two points away from fourth-placed West Ham.
A win over West Bromwich Albion this evening would push them above the Hammers into those coveted top four places, while a game in hand over the rest of the chasing pack is also a major advantage.
Similarly, their fixtures until the end of the season appear kinder than most, with Everton only facing teams who currently sit below them in table and four of the current bottom six in their remaining games.
The opportunity to push is certainly there then, but Ancelotti has urged caution from those dreaming big.
“So I improved Everton. But it’s tough for the Champions League,” he told Sky Sport Italy.
“Qualifying for the Champions League is a dream, but we have to be realistic. We are still not in the ideal position to compete for the top spots.
“Today in fourth place is West Ham. I think Everton can compete with West Ham.
“But we must not forget that behind them there are teams like Chelsea and Liverpool who are superior to us at the moment”.
A more realistic target for the Toffees would be the Europa League, which is even more attainable than a top-four place at this moment in time.
With 43 points to their name already, Everton would need 16 points from their remaining games to match the 59 points that secured sixth place for Tottenham last season.
Sixth place is usually secured with a points tally in the sixties, with 69 points the most any side has needed for that position in the last five seasons.
Even that tally is not completely out of Everton’s reach given the fixtures they have, and Ancelotti admits he would be more than happy if they could secure their place in UEFA’s secondary competition.
“I would sign up to this because this was the club’s goal at the beginning of the season; it is important that the club return to Europe,” he added.
“But we still don’t know why there is a big battle for these places, behind there are great teams like Tottenham and Arsenal that have tradition and are coming in.
“There will be a brawl until the end.This is a very strange season”.