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Lille (A) Thu 23 Oct 2014, 18:00, Europa League

Nev: Focus Back On League

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Everton v Swansea

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Skipper Phil Neville says it is vital Everton continue to pursue European qualification through both the league and the FA Cup.

Obviously success in the cup would guarantee a Europa League berth next term, but if the Blues were to exit at the last four stage then only a superb finale to their Premier League campaign would set up a return to continental competition.

That would probably mean closing a 10-point gap on Newcastle – something Neville says the players haven’t yet given up on.

He told evertontv: “We can qualify for Europe through the cup but there is still a glimmer of hope that we can do it through the league. That is the aim. You want to be in the running at the end of the season.

“With the run in that we have got, with the quality that we have got, then I see no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging on both fronts.

“We have got to put the cup to one side for three games now. We have got a great opportunity in the league to make inroads and finish the season as high as possible.

“The best teams win Saturday, win Wednesday and go again Saturday. They keep climbing that mountain and that is what we need to do.”

Indeed, nothing breeds confidence like winning matches and, at the very least, Neville says some positive league results will enable them to go into next month’s semi-final with the same belief they took to Sunderland in the last eight.

“We have got to keep this momentum going,” he added. “It is building at the moment into something that could be really special.

“The win at Swansea gave us confidence going into the cup game and we have now got three league games before the semi-final. If we were to go into it off the back of three good wins, then we would be a side bang in form.”

Up first is Saturday’s home game against West Brom, a side who did the double over the Blues last season.

Neville continued: “We had a great night at Sunderland. There is no hiding away from that. The whole Club had a special night on Tuesday and obviously Wednesday people were still celebrating.

“But come Thursday and Friday our focus will be fully on West Brom. It will be a tough game, they have always played well at Goodison, they beat us 4-1 here last season and they will be smarting after their defeat to Newcastle last time out.”

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