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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Martinez Out For The Maximum

@Everton

Roberto Martinez expects Everton to qualify for the Champions League - if they can win their final three Premier League matches.

Maximum points from their remaining games against Southampton, Manchester City and Hull City would mean the Blues boast a final tally of 78.

Based on previous seasons, Martinez believes that amount would be enough to secure elite continental competition next season.

Everton currently trail fourth-placed Arsenal by a solitary point, with the Gunners having games against Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City to play.

Martinez’s men can steal a march over their rivals by beating Southampton on Saturday lunchtime, while Arsenal have to wait until Monday evening for their next outing – when Alan Pardew takes his side to the Emirates.  

Martinez said: “I think it is fair to say, just looking at the last 15 years or so, fourth place is well below 76 points.

“There has only been one season where you have needed 76 points for that and on average it’s always been a lot less points. You don’t go far wrong when you look at the points tally.

“It doesn’t matter who you are playing against or who you are fighting against, to get into that fourth spot it’s always the points tally that matters.”

Even if Everton fall short in their Champions League quest, Martinez says the Club can feel proud of their efforts this term.

The Blues have already eclipsed their previous highest Premier League points total of 65 achieved during 2007/08.

Martinez added: “I will go as far to say, if you don’t get nine points and you don’t get into the Champions League, you can be proud and very happy anyway.

“That’s the target we are giving ourselves - how many points we can get from now until the end of the season.

“We have to make sure that we are fresh, we have recovered and look at every game as a unique opportunity to show what we can do.”

Fans can listen to live commentary of Everton's game against Southampton by clicking here from around 12.40pm on Saturday afternoon.

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