Everton - who have not graced the continental stage for three years - boosted their prospects with a 3-1 win over Reading on Saturday and are now looking forward to the FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan next weekend.
Pienaar said: "Sometimes you have to go through the back door, so there is a little less pressure on us now. We will see how the other teams do and hopefully we can sneak in.
"I think it is fairly good to play in European competitions. After the Premier League there are only two bigger cups - the Europa League and the Champions League.
"All the players want to play in it and it is important for the club to get European football. We will just see. The cup is the shortest route to European football.
"Next week we are also at Goodison so hopefully this can be the place that gives us the passport to European football.
"I think it is important for the supporters as well - they enjoy going away. I'd rather stay at home with the family!"
Victory over the Latics would secure a return to Wembley, but Pienaar added: "We don't have to talk about it now.
"The most important thing is Wigan and it is not going to be an easy hurdle to go past."