Everton boss Marco Silva insists his side would be ready to cope with the extra games brought on by Europa League qualification and says the club should be looking to play in Europe every year.
The Toffees still have an outside chance of finishing seventh in the Premier League this season and possible qualification for the Europa League, though that is now out of their hands after last weekend’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
Friday’s opponents Burnley finished seventh last season and so began their Europa League campaign in July. Though they were eventually beaten by Olympiakos in the play-off round in late August the extra games appeared to hinder their league form, where they won just two of their opening 14 matches.
Everton also struggled the previous season when their campaign in July, though as we know there were plenty more problems with the team aside from a busy schedule.
When asked about the prospect of Europa League football Silva insists he would not see the extra games as a negative but rather a challenge to be embraced.
The Portuguese did hint though that the squad would have to be increased in order to cope with the extra games.
“It’s not a moment for us to talk about if Everton qualify [for Europe] or not, we have to keep doing our job, fighting to achieve points and after we will see the position in our table.
“It’s not something that’s just in our hands. Competition is tight, we have to do our job and let’s see.
“For us as a club, it must be our aim to always to play in European competition
“Let’s see what we can do this season or not but for all future seasons it has to be our aim 100% to play every single season in Europe for us to keep growing as a club.
“If it happens then we have to prepare ourselves and have a deep squad to be prepared to play in both competitions.
“But it will always be a pleasure, a big challenge and never a problem for us.”