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Europa League Round of 32

Europe is big for Everton - Distin

Sylvain Distin believes securing European football will be a great achievement for Everton this season.

Last Updated: 14/04/13 at 13:54 Post Comment

Sylvain Distin: Targets European football

Sylvain Distin: Targets European football

Sylvain Distin believes securing European football will be a great achievement for Everton considering the teams they are competing against for it.

A comfortable 2-0 win at Goodison Park put another nail in the coffin of second-bottom QPR but lifted David Moyes' side within three points of Champions League qualification.

They have not been in the top four since just before Christmas and the dream of joining Europe's elite appeared to have faded with the onset of 2013.

However, 13 points from the last five league matches - their best run since winning five in a row in November 2002 - has shot them back into genuine contention.

With a trip to third-placed Arsenal on Tuesday the Toffees could enhance their claims further, which is admirable considering the six teams currently above them - plus Liverpool one place below - all have bigger budgets.

"It will be a great achievement if we do secure Europe because we don't have a massive squad," the Frenchman told Press Association Sport.

"We know financially we are not in position to buy four or five players every transfer window but we still compete against teams who spend 10 or even 100 times more than we do.

"From that point of view that is great but at the same time if we qualify for the Europa League or at best Champions League we have a small squad so we might suffer from it and only time will tell.

"All we want is to finish as high as possible."

One of those teams who have spent considerably more than Everton are QPR, although rather than benefiting them it appears to have handicapped them as their expensively-assembled squad showed at Goodison Park they are worth considerably less than the sum of their parts.

Starting the match seven points from safety - where they remained after it - they did not appear up for the fight and once Darron Gibson's drive took a big deflection off Clint Hill to beat Julio Cesar their body language gave the game away.

When Victor Anichebe hooked in from close range shortly after half-time there was little in the way of a response.

Manager Harry Redknapp concedes time has nearly run out for his side and with the npower Championship rapidly coming into view he appears to be getting his excuses ready.

"It was always going to be difficult because a third of the season had gone with four points on the board (when he took over)," he said.

"You take a team on which is basically not your team but you try to get the best out of them and I think we've done that but whether it is good enough in the end..... it is going to be difficult.

"We need to win a couple of games (they face Stoke and then Reading in two must-win matches) and see what happens, that is all you can do."

While it is mostly doom and gloom at Loftus Road the mood has improved significantly at Goodison since the fans threatened to revolt following their FA Cup quarter-final exit to finalists Wigan.

Distin insists the players have remained level-headed through it all and although this week's clash with the Gunners could prove to be the defining moment in their season they are taking it all in their stride.

"We have been in more or less the same league position all year round, we've been consistent and the only downside has been the (small) number of clean sheets," added the centre-back.

"In the last few games we've had some clean sheets and scored goals - it's perfect for us to finish the season well and it is important we carry on till the end.

"Every game is big. There are no small games and no game bigger than the other and this one (against Arsenal) will just be another one.

"We train hard no matter what - even last season when we didn't have anything to fight for.

"When you play for Everton you quickly understand that no matter what it is always the best players who will play and until the last game everyone is going to fight.

"We don't need any extra motivation, it is in the club's nature to just keep fighting."


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