Baines wants long Everton Europa League run

Leighton Baines believes Everton have to target a lengthy run in the Europa League despite the difficulty of their group, Sky Sports has reported.

The Toffees get their European campaign underway on Thursday with the visit of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, who, along with Lille and Krasnodar, form what Baines feels is one of the toughest groups of the competition.

“I heard our group described as being like a Champions League group in terms of the calibre of the clubs in it,” he said. “I don’t know much about the Russian side but Wolfsburg and Lille are teams with those kinds of credentials which you’ve seen play at that level.

“You imagine it will be a really competitive group,” Baines continued. “You need those games. There’s no point playing against the weaker teams in the competition.”

He added that regardless of the strength of their opponents, Roberto Martinez’s side should be looking to reach the latter stages of the tournament. “We’ve got to think big,” Baines insisted.

“It’s a long competition but you want to get to the final of every cup competition you’re in and ultimately win them and that’s the aim,” the 29-year-old confirmed. “You want to qualify from the group and go as far as you can, and you want the big nights at Goodison or wherever it is along the way.”

Everton were last in European competition in the 2009/10 season when they reached the Round of 32 in the Europa League. The club’s only European trophy came in the 1984-85 season when, under the management of Howard Kendall, Everton won the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and also claimed the league title that same year.

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