Roberto Martinez says Everton can qualify for the Champions League if they replicate their recent displays over the course of the Premier League season.
Ahead of Monday’s trip to West Brom, Everton have lost just once in all competitions this term and picked up impressive victories over champions Chelsea and last season’s surprise package Southampton.
Martinez’s side struggled for consistency last term as they sought to balance domestic and European commitments, but Martinez has been enthused by Everton’s displays so far this season.
“The Southampton performance and the Chelsea performance – that’s the level that is needed to get into the Champions League, top and bottom,” said the Spaniard.
“How many points are going to be needed this season? It’s hard to tell. I think it’ll be such a close season; you look at the points West Ham have got away from home and Crystal Palace’s form, there are many teams who are going to take a lot of points from the so-called top four.
“That makes me think 70 points will get you into the top positions. The consistent level is what is hard.
“I’m starting to see very good signs of a very competitive squad and if we can develop that for the next eight months we will see where it can take us.”
The majority of Everton’s recent European campaigns have taken place in the UEFA Cup or Europa League, with their sole Champions League run ending in the third qualifying round in 2005.
And Martinez urged his side to focus on claiming points from the league’s best sides before targeting a top-four finish.
Asked about the chances of staking a Champions League claim, he added: “I think it’s too early to say. After the first 10 games we’ll have a clear idea of how challenging it will be to finish top six; I’m not just talking top four.
“I think there are six clubs, with the investment that they’ve made and the finances they work with, and they have set the level. We’ve played well but I think we can play a lot better in terms of getting the results that the performances deserve.
“The [2-0 defeat] against Manchester City is one that you need to find a way to get a positive result, the [0-0 draw] against Swansea also. So we can aspire to get better and that means we don’t need to rely on other teams.”