John Heitinga targets European qualification with Everton

The Dutchman has declared his determination to achieve a top five finish in order to be able to play in Europe next season, and does not think this is an unrealistic target

John Heitinga insists Everton should be aiming to gain European qualification this season

Everton’s Premier League campaign has been delayed slightly after their season opener against Tottenham was postponed duo to the riots in London.

David Moyes's side will now have to start against top-flight new boys QPR, this extended break is a far cry from Heitinga’s pre-season last year, after featuring for the Netherlands in the World Cup.

“This year I am feeling good. It is the first time for a while I have had a longer pre-season – especially after last year with the World Cup – and I am feeling fit and looking forward to it, hopefully it will be a good season for us and hopefully we can show the fans that we will fight for every point," Heitinga told the club's official website.

“It is up to us now as it is our first game and they are new in the league and we need to beat them and make sure we have a better start than last season,” he said.

“We have a good team and a strong squad. Not the biggest squad, but if everyone is fit then we have good competition between us to see who is going to play. We are all excited about the new season."

Heitinga has warned his side against replicating their slow start to the last two campaigns and is adamant Everton should be playing in the Europa League next term.

“In the last couple of months of last season we played quite well and picked up a lot of points,

 “But in my eyes Everton should at least play in the Europa League and we will do everything we can to get there.

“The start needs to be better because last season we had almost no points after 10 games and we need to play better.”