Everton captain Seamus Coleman admits the players did not think European qualification was even possible a few months ago but now it is their sole target.
The club looked more likely to be tackling a relegation battle after they sacked Marco Silva with the club in the Premier League’s bottom three at the beginning of December.
However, new boss Carlo Ancelotti has reinvigorated Everton with 17 points from eight matches – bettered only by near-neighbours and runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool (24) over the same period – catapulting them to within five points of the top four.
While thoughts of Champions League football may be fanciful, the Toffees, with no cup involvement, are firmly in the race for the Europa League and that is something Coleman believes the club needs.
“We’re trying to catch those European places. A few months ago, we probably didn’t think that was possible,” he told evertontv.
“But we’re playing well now and just looking forward to every game.
“We’ve got to push for Europe. I think this club needs European football and we all want that.
“Where this football club wants to get in the next three, four, five years, it has to be wanting European football every year and if we can get it this year, that’s a bonus.”
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has run the rule over Tottenham’s top-four rivals this season, and while he was happy to mention Everton as candidates, he refused to acknowledge former club Man Utd as contenders.