The boss is refusing to take fifth place for granted with Tottenham still mathematically able to snatch the place
Having once experienced the humiliation of his Wigan side losing a Premier League match 9-1 at Tottenham, Roberto Martinez refuses to embrace the notion of his Everton team finishing fifth this season until it is mathematically confirmed.
But it would take a repeat of that same staggering scoreline when Spurs host Aston Villa this weekend – while the Blues would also need to lose 10-0 at Hull City to deny Martinez fifth place in his first season as manager of Everton.
And regardless of Everton’s eventual Premier League placing or the result on Sunday, the Blues boss has already compiled a club record Premier League points haul in his first campaign.
It will be a challenge to match that 69 points total, with three more up for grabs on Humberside on Sunday, next season.
But Martinez is already planning to ensure that the demands of a Europa League campaign do not hamper another campaign chasing Champions League qualification.
Gerard Deulofeu denied a goal from a Joe Hart save.
“As soon as we finish the final game we start work, as we did last season, to try to build a stronger squad,” said Martinez.
“We have to make sure we have more numbers than last season. We don’t want to use the excuse of European football or any domestic competition affecting our league campaign.
“If we say that, it is because we haven’t assembled a strong enough squad at the beginning of the season.
“We are at a point where we want to embrace Europe. We want to finish fifth. We need to finish against Hull City showing good standards. And I do feel that the competitive edge in European football will help the team to develop – and as a football club it will help us to be as good as we can.”
If Arsenal win the FA Cup on May 18, the Blues would go straight into the group stages of the European tournament starting on September 18.
Should Hull pull off an upset at Wembley, the Blues would need to negotiate a play-off round on August 21 and 28.
But regardless of which round they enter the competition from, the Blues will have a minimum of six more fixtures to negotiate next season – hopefully more.
Martinez, however, is relishing the prospect.
“If we can get through these challenges next season I think we are going to see the full potential of our squad and that is what excites me,” he said.