Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits his side must go on a winning run in the near future if they want to challenge the likes of Southampton and West Ham at the top end of the table.
The Toffees fell to a 3-0 reverse at Southampton on Saturday, meaning they sit down in 11th in the table on Christmas Day.
Martinez’s side are now eight points behind Saints and 10 points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham, with both teams surprisingly strong in the first half of the campaign.
Everton have struggled to cope with the extra demands of Europa League football this season and won back-to-back league games for the only time back in October.
The manager admits they must be more consistent going forward if they plan to be in with a shout of finishing in the top six in May.
“Southampton and West Ham, for me, have been the best teams so far this season and there are still a lot of points to fight for,” Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.
“Teams are going to take a lot of points from each other and, from our point of view, it is about getting a good run of results and making sure we reach a good level and giving ourselves an opportunity to finish as high as we can.”
He added: “Saturday was a big disappointment, don’t get me wrong.”
Everton are priced at 1.81 to return to winning ways on Boxing Day when they host Stoke City at Goodison Park.