Everton’s absence from the Europa League will benefit the team’s Premier League prospects this season but the Toffees are keen to break back into Europe next year, manager Roberto Martinez has said.
The Merseyside Club have been in impressive form in the Premier League, picking up eight points from their opening five games, including an emphatic 3-1 win over champions Chelsea.
Everton were knocked out of the Europa League in the round of 16 last season by Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv, and their domestic form suffered as a result of the extra games and travel.
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The team finished 11th in the Premier League, a dramatic decline from fifth the season before — when they were not in Europe — and their worst end to a league campaign since 2005-06.
“You don’t just need to prepare for the Europa League now, you think about it when you are assembling your squad, making the signings and looking at the physical outputs in training,” Martinez was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
“It affects everything.
“When you are in Europe, the reality is that it takes some focus away from the league fixtures,” he added.
Despite the additional burden, the Spaniard is still keen on getting his team back into European competition.
“We benefited from that experience, and we want to be involved in Europe again,” he said.
“We want to be in Europe again and to have that mentality that will give us the same focus in every single game we go into.”
Everton’s deadline day signing Ramiro Funes Mori, who made his debut in the win over Chelsea on Saturday, is setting his sights even higher than his boss.
The Argentine defender is confident that Everton can break back into Europe and eventually qualify for the Champions League.
“I believe we can win a lot of games and fight for the top places in the league.
“We can make the Europa League or Champions League as we have a good young team with plenty of experience too,” Mori was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.