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Everton boss Roberto Martinez is adamant that his side will “fight with everything” to secure Europa League qualification despite the extra demand it will place on his squad next season.
The Spanish tactician is well aware that his side’s Champions League qualification hopes are looking slim as they sit in seventh spot and are nine points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City who have a game in hand.
However, the Toffees could overhaul Tottenham in fifth spot should they win their two games in hand over Tim Sherwood’s north Londoners and that would be enough to qualify for the Europa League.
Despite the prestige of being involved in Europe many Premier League managers in the past have complained that the vast number of extra games – usually on a Thursday night – has had a detrimental impact on their domestic form throughout the campaign.
But Martinez insists that if their Champions League push fails, he will happily accept a place in the Europa League.
He said: “I don’t see the Europa League as a hindrance. It would be very easy for us to say that. I think qualifying for us would be a massive step forward, it would bring big occasions that I think we need so clearly, it is a big objective because it will allow us to grow as a football club.
“The answers are very, very clear. If you are asking me can we get into Europe, we will fight with everything to do that.”
Everton can boost their European hopes with a win against struggling Cardiff at Goodison Park on Saturday and they are 1.33 to collect three points. The Bluebirds are 8.90 to follow up last week’s vital 3-1 win against bottom club Fulham with another win, while the draw is 4.86.