Roberto Martinez accepts that winning the Capital One Cup would not be enough to keep Everton’s best players at Goodison Park in the long run.
Martinez promised to guide Everton to the Champions League when he was appointed in 2013 but, midway through his third season in charge, the Toffees are currently nine points behind Tottenham in fourth.
Everton have three players in Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and Ross Barkley who have all attracted interest from elite clubs, and Martinez believes finishing in the top four is the club’s only chance to keep hold of their stars.
“I don’t think winning a cup will keep the young players, I think qualifying for the Champions League could help to keep young players,” Martinez said ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City.
“The reality is that we have taken a very different approach to what we are as a team than we took at this club three years ago. Three years ago it was a very experienced team who knew how to win games but had some sort of ceiling.
“Now we have gone very young with immense potential to go beyond that ceiling, and there has been investment in that potential so we will get the rewards from it.
“I wouldn’t say I don’t want to win silverware, because that is what this club is about and our aim is to have that drive and ambition to do that, but the aim is to get into the top four and that is what we have set out to achieve.
“How long that is going to take I don’t know, but I don’t think winning a cup will help us to keep players. What will make it easier in the modern game is to fight for the top four positions in the league.”