Ronald Koeman has said that Everton could finish above Arsenal or Manchester United due to their rivals ‘ inconsistency and workload, claiming the pair is greater than his team in the name.
Leicester City’s elimination from the Champions League, this Tuesday, to the effect secured Europa League qualification for Everton, with Koeman’s team seventh in the table and 13 points from West Bromwich Albion in eighth. Everton will face a third qualifying round at the end of July should they remain seventh, but congratulating themselves on a place in Europa, and the additional requirements on next season’s fixture schedule, Koeman insists a fifth or sixth-placed finish is a credible target.
The manager of Everton, said: â€œIt’s OK if people talk about Arsenal and Man United â€“ the name is a big one, but not the way you play. We show that you can give good competition to the strong teams, the great teams, when they are not having a fantastic season.
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â€œAt Southampton last year, we finished with 63 points. It is amazing. It is amazing that we have the same points now as Arsenal, but it is football. This is not a question of money. It is on the players, the team, the organization, about the mind, about the belief and the best team that has showed all of that last season was Leicester City, and much better than what we do this season. But it is possible and that gives confidence to all the rest of the teams that you can give to the competition.â€
Everton are level on points with Arsenal and three behind United, having played two more matches than the two. Koeman, who takes his side to West Ham United, Saturday, and Arsenal on the last day of the season, believes that the form of ArsÃ¨ne Wenger and JosÃ© Mourinho, the teams of the offer Everton hope that the gap can be bridged.
He added: â€œThey have one or two other games to play than us, but they have the difficulty of the fixtures. Man United are still in the Europa League and this weekend, Arsenal have the semi-final of the FA Cup. We know that they are not a team like Tottenham and Chelsea, who don’t lose games. No, they are different.
â€œOur points total is really a lot better than last year. From 47 points to 57 points, there are already 10 points of a difference and maybe it will be more. We do not have a target in mind. We have in mind to win a game on Saturday and after that, to win a match next week. This is the best way to get the highest total number of points possible.â€
The Dutchman also praised Romelu Lukaku, but has refused to speculate on suggestions the club have put a Â£100m price on their 23 years old, best scorer of the story. â€œHe scored 24 [league] goals, and with five matches to play, it can reach a very high total,â€ said Koeman. â€œIt’s like any player who performs at a high level â€“ every team likes to have strikers because the goals of make points. But I think he improves in the rest of his football. It is better in pressing and running in the channels. Today, he is the best scorer of the team as it was last year.â€