Everton confident of top four finish, says Howard

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has said that his side are up for the battle with Arsenal to finish in the Premier League’s top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League, the Liverpool Echo has reported.

Victory away to bottom club Sunderland on Saturday meant that Everton leapfrogged Arsenal, who were in FA Cup action. Both sides have now played 33 games, and are in action in midweek with the Gunners now having to rely on Everton slip-ups.

Manager Roberto Martinez made Champions League qualification his target upon being appointed last summer, although few believed it to be a realistic prospect. Now with their fate in their own hands, Howard believes his side are up for the battle over the remaining weeks of the season.

“We wanted it in our own hands,’ said Howard. ‘We worked so hard to get to this point that we don’t want to throw it away now. It couldn’t be better than that. As much as you keep fighting if you’re having to hope that Arsenal lose, that’s draining. To be able to just focus on us is helpful.”

“We’re in a good mental state. We’re performing well. We feel fluid and there’s a good energy in the dressing room. We won’t feel pressure on our back from Arsenal. Anything can happen. There are so many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ but if we keep fighting we’ll finish strong so hopefully that can continue.”

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