Martinez Targeting Europe

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he can see his players are "mentally ready" to fight for European qualification this season.

The Blues find themselves 11th in the table with 12 Barclays Premier League games remaining but crucially still within six points of fifth-place Manchester United.

The FA Cup, in which Everton face Bournemouth this Saturday, also offers a potential avenue towards continental competition next term and Martinez says his side are desperate to ensure the campaign ends with supporters dusting off their passports.

"We're going into the final third of the season and that means 36 points to fight for, 12 games, and we are not far away from the European places,” he explained. "That is what we're going to fight for and we're in a position to do it.

"The margins in the league have been so small that I just feel we're very, very close to being able to achieve our aim.

"I see the team is mentally ready and I think we've showed so far this season what we can achieve. It's now important that in the final 12 league games we get as many points as we can and enough points to reach that aim."

Everton head to Dean Court having only lost twice away from home all season - at Arsenal in the league and Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Martinez concedes it is at Goodison Park where the Blues have let go of important points, though he remains confident that deficit can be clawed back in the remaining fixtures.  

"If you look at our away form, it's better than two years ago when we reached the record points tally in the Premier League, so that shows you that as a team we've been consistent in the hardest challenge, which is away from home," he added. "Our disappointment has been at home. To have six home defeats is not good enough and the challenge is to correct that.

"The small margins have been against us in every single aspect and you could go through many good performances that didn’t end up getting the right result.

"The final third of the season is where we're going to be making sure that we turn that situation around and, if we do that, we'll be in a very different position to where we are now."

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