Everton can and must aim higher than sixth, declares Roberto Martinez

The Toffees are nine points away from the Champions League places, having played a game more than fourth-placed Manchester City, but the Spaniard is unwilling to settle
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is adamant that his side can and should aim higher than merely hanging onto sixth place in the Premier League.

The Spaniard has witnessed his side produce a string of impressive performances this season, although two wins in their last six league games have left the Toffees in sixth.

Manchester City's victory in the Capital One Cup means the Merseysiders' current position would see them qualify for next season's Europa League, while an upgrade to the Champions League looks increasingly unlikely as Everton trail fourth-placed City by nine points, having played a game more.

14/1 Everton are 14/1 with PaddyPower to finish in the Premier League top four
Martinez refuses to give up the ghost, however, telling the club's official website: "We've never had it in our aims to finish sixth. We want to finish as high as we can and that's still the case.

"Obviously, when the season finishes, you sit down, see where you are in the table and see where that leaves you but I would never look at this season as one where we're trying to fight for sixth position.

"We are sixth now and over the season it's about as low as we've been. In terms of results, I don't think the table reflects the season we've had.

"We've had a game postponed and, among others, we've had two results recently that didn't match the performances so we are aspiring to finish the season as strongly as we can and with as many points as we can.

"I don't think our aim will be finishing sixth at this present time."