Jela Aiming Up
Striker desperate to fire Everton into European contention.
Nikica Jelavic has put Europe in his sights after admitting he sees himself at Everton for the long haul.
The Croatian plundered an impressive 11 goals in just 16 games last season to help lift David Moyes' side to seventh in the Barclays Premier League table – one position short of Europa League qualification.
Now the former Glasgow Rangers striker has promised to build on his golden beginning to life at Goodison Park and fire the Blues back among the continental contenders.
“I signed a four-year deal and I don’t think about going anywhere else,” he said. “I want to become even better and I want to score even more goals next season.
“Honestly, I think with this squad, we deserve a better place in the league than we managed this season.
“If we can keep the squad and add a few quality players, I think we can fight for Europe next season.
“Always my objective before a season is to score as many goals as possible and try to play in Europe. I think this team is good enough to be playing in Europe. Since I signed we've lost just two games in the Premier League. That's massive.”
Unsurprisingly, Jelavic’s impact has made him an instant hit with supporters and the 26-year-old admits he has been overwhelmed by the way in which Evertonians have taken to him.
“It's great,” he said. “It means a lot to me. In just three-and-a-half months they already like me, so it's special.
“I try to score goals and obviously, fans, they like the goals. I'm so happy they have accepted me and hopefully next season I can continue with the goals. I'm confident. And that's my job - to try to score as many goals as I can.”
It’s a popular word in the Croatian’s lexicon ‘goals’.
On his arrival he promised ‘goals, goals and more goals’ and he’s certainly delivered to date.
His compatriot and national team predecessor Davor Suker recently told evertonfc.com he felt Moyes had found himself the oft-heralded ’20-goal-a-season striker’.
The man himself won’t set targets but is happy enough carrying the weight of expectation.
“I never think about numbers before the season,” he said. “I just play game by game and try to score each chance I get on the pitch. But the last few seasons have been good for me so it's possible.
“Everton was a great team before me and to have the type of service I get here is massive.
“As a striker, you always need to have good midfield players and good crosses as well.
“I think we also have a good team spirit, we train very hard, the manager is great with his training and as a person as well. I think we breathe like a family, that's the key.”
In the second part of his exclusive evertontv interview Jelavic talks more about his goals and reveals which has been his favourite so far.
And keep your eyes peeled for part three in which the Croatian discusses his Euro 2012 hopes and playing under former Blues defender Slaven Bilic.