Ronald Koeman admits it will take time to turn Everton into title contenders, saying the best they can achieve this season is a push for the Europa League places.
The Dutchman was appointed at Goodison Park in the summer as a successor to Roberto Martinez and has seen his new side make a steady start to the season, where they lie in seventh place.
But Koeman – who has assessed this season’s title contenders as well as picking out his surprise winner – believes returning Everton to former glories is a long-term project.
“It is a long time since Everton were winning trophies and challenging for the title in England, but that is what we want to do,” Koeman said at the launch of the Kick It With Help anti-smoking campaign. “This is a very big club and the aim is to be in the top positions again, challenging for the important places in the Premier League.
“It takes time when you come to a club to get everything you want in place, but I understand that in this game now, you do not always have the time. Results are very important and while we say there should be more patience, that is just not how this game works now.
“Long-term projects are no longer possible if you do not have success quickly and even though most supporters appreciate a manager should have some time, others can put pressure on the owners and decision makers at clubs who hire and sack managers.
“When you have a result like we had against Chelsea, there will be criticism if you are at a big club like Everton, but you need to accept that and try to come back.”
Koeman’s aims this season
Speaking about his immediate targets, Koeman continued: “The ambition this season will be challenging for European football.
“We have introduced some new players last summer and it takes time to find the right balance in the team and to find consistency, but I feel it is not far away.
“If we are competing for a place in the Europa League in my first season here, then that would be a good achievement. I think this is possible, but we can see a lot of teams with the same ambition as us in the Premier League, so it will not be easy.”