Everton have just five games of the season left to play, and manager Ronald Koeman insists that a top five finish is still the target. The Blues are in a tussle with Manchester United and Arsenal for the fifth spot, but the other two teams have games in hand. However, both clubs have the distraction of the FA Cup weighing on their minds, and the Red Devils have the Europa League further cluttering up their season-ending schedule.
Tune in as Ronald Koeman previews Saturday's Premier League clash at West Ham United...Posted by Everton Football Club on Thursday, April 20, 2017
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to West Ham United on Saturday, Koeman said regarding a top five finish -
“Of course. It’s our target. We know it’s really difficult, but it’s a battle between Everton, Arsenal and Man United.
“Everybody knows that the last game of the season is Arsenal Everton. If we’re still in to beat them that will be really nice.”
When told that Everton’s home scoring record in 2017 was even better than Barcelona -
“Yeah we know we are creating a lot of good opportunities. We are more productive than the beginning of the season. But still, there’s a difference between home and away.
“We need a win this weekend to show that we can play in all the stadiums, in all the away games, and to show how good we are. It’s not good to have a big difference between home and away, and we need to do better away.”
Of the five remaining games on the calendar, the Toffees play at Goodison twice and will be on the road for the other three games.
“Yeah I think we can do better, we can show better that there is not that much of a difference between home and away.
“It is all about the confidence, it is all about keeping the way of playing even when we play away from home, and that is important for this weekend.”
Koeman was also asked that with 7th place secured, would he have a different approach to away games.
“On one side yes. We are at the least seventh and that means European football. We will take the challenge to win all the games and get a big opportunity to finish maybe fifth or sixth in the table. That will be the challenge for this week and the next.
“My meeting with the players is not different if we play away or if we play at home. Maybe sometimes the players with the support of the fans feel more comfortable. We’re going to West Ham, and they still need points for this season. We can play, we can show we have a strong team and we can play away from home the same way we like to play at home.”
An improvement of their away form will be critical in ensuring that the last game of the season will still be something for Everton to play for. The Blues have played 16 away games so far this season, winning 4, drawing 5 and losing 7 for a total of 17 points, which is only 9th best in the League, compared to table toppers Chelsea who have 36 points away from Stamford Bridge.