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Despite only being eight games into the new season, the Toffees have started strongly and currently lie in a Champions League place, a spot the Croatian striker wants to remain in

Everton striker Nikica Jelavic believes the club can continue their strong start to the season and clinch qualification to next year’s Champions League.

Tallying 15 points from eight games this season, including an opening-weekend win against Manchester United, the Toffees have ditched their habitual trend as slow starters.

And Jelavic believes Everton can couple their strong start to a solid conclusion to the campaign and finish inside the top four for the first time in eight years.

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"We are a strong team,” Jelavic told the Daily Express.

"I have heard all about the success that Everton enjoyed in the mid-Eighties and what a great team they had back then.

"I can't promise that we are ready to get back to those levels just yet, but I do believe we are strong enough to play Champions League.

"We have already beaten Manchester United this season, and last season we beat Manchester City, so we have shown that we can play and also that we can compete.”

With the Merseyside derby on Sunday, Jelavic is hoping for an improved performance from himself and his team-mates after suffering defeat twice last season – notably the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

He added: "I have had two bad experiences playing against Liverpool in this country, but I did beat them in a pre-season friendly when I was with Rapid Vienna.

"Obviously, it is a big derby and it is a big game for everyone and I want to beat Liverpool with Everton."

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