Roberto Martinez still believes he can fulfil his promise to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright to deliver Champions League football.
Everton are currently nine points outside the top four – with Martinez being accused of under-achieving in his third season as Toffees boss.
The Toffees have three players in Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and Ross Barkley who command fees of over £40m and yet they are currently in the bottom half of the table.
Asked ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City if silverware would help keep his trio of young players, Martinez said:
“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.
“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.”