Carlo Ancelotti is aiming for his Everton side to finish in a European spot this season, but has suggested securing a Champions League finish may be beyond them.
The Toffees currently sit ninth in the Premier League table, but the inconsistency of teams in the division this season means they are still in the picture for a potential European finish.
Ancelotti has made an instant arrival since his December arrival as the club’s manager at Goodison Park and has sparked a turn of form.
The Merseyside giants are only two points adrift of seventh in the table, while fourth-placed Chelsea are currently eight points above them.
Everton host Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon in their next match, before two potentially important fixtures against Arsenal then Manchester United.
“Honestly, we are not thinking about this,” Ancelotti responded to the question of whether Everton could qualify for the Champions League this season, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
“To play the Europa League would be a fantastic result for us for next season. This is the target in this moment, Chelsea is too far ahead at the moment. Maybe they’ll be closer in three or four games but there are a lot of fantastic teams.”
There is no debate that a European finish is somehow up for grabs for Everton, something which seemed impossible a couple of months ago and it goes to show what a turnaround they have had.
They all temporarily jump up to seventh in the division standings with a win over Palace and they are dark horses making a late push up the table.
It seems unlikely to overturn an eight-point cushion to Chelsea and they should forget about Champions League football for now, but some form of European football for next season would be a platform for Ancelotti to build on.