David Moyes maintains Everton are still very much in contention to bring European football back to Goodison Park next season.
As the business end of the campaign approaches, the Blues sit two points behind fifth-placed Arsenal with eight Premier League fixtures left to play.
Three of those remaining matches are away to teams in and around Everton in the league table, including a trip to the Emirates Stadium in two weeks’ time.
Before that re-arranged match, the Blues travel to the capital to play Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham next Sunday – a game Moyes believes Everton can recoup points from, even with key players missing.
“For us still to be in there, with the likes of Spurs and Arsenal, we have given ourselves a chance,” Moyes said. “We are going to work towards it, albeit we are big underdogs, but why not?
“We have still got to play them [teams in the European places] and we have to believe we can go there, get a result and get as close to them as we can.
“We are going to their patch [Tottenham] which is going to be tough and we are going there without Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini which makes the job harder. That’s why [against Stoke] we had to adapt our team a little bit and change things.
“We will continue to do that to try and find ways of winning and we will have to see what we do against Tottenham because they are a very good team.”
Ahead of next weekend’s showdown at White Hart Lane, Moyes has been further encouraged after watching his team record successive defensive shut-outs against Manchester City and Stoke.
“At this time of the year if you can get a bit of consistency at the back, with people defending well, it can help you,” added the Blues boss.
“If you get a clean sheet it always gives you a chance of winning and, to be fair, it’s something we have not done enough of this year. We’ve not kept enough clean sheets.”