Ben Godfrey says Everton are employing self-imposed pressure to fuel their attempt at maintaining an elevated Premier League position.
Everton visit West Bromwich Albion on Thursday knowing they would climb to fourth in the standings with victory.
It would likely be a temporary residence, with Chelsea visiting Liverpool later in the day but, insists Godfrey, winning a third straight game to jump from seventh would qualify as a statement of Everton’s ambition.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat Southampton on Monday to draw a line under an unproductive run of results at Goodison Park.
Godfrey is convinced that success can act as the catalyst for improved home form – but in the meantime has eyes only for the prize on offer at West Brom.
“Everton is a huge club and we are ambitious, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do well, so why not aim for those Champions League spots,” said Godfrey.
“All we can do is focus on ourselves and go into every game with the mentality of wanting to take three points, then see what happens at the end of the season.
“It would be wrong to say we’re not aiming for European qualification.
“We all want success and as long as we continue doing the same things and believing in ourselves there is no reason we shouldn’t achieve it."
Godfrey has made 18 Premier League appearances since joining from Norwich City back in October – including playing every minute of 15 of Everton’s past 16 league matches.
Returning to his favoured centre-back position for the games against Liverpool and Southampton, he helped Everton record the clean sheets which were the bedrock for successive victories.
And the 23-year-old recognises that winning at Goodison needs to become the norm for Everton to realise their European goal.
Manager Ancelotti’s team had fallen into the habit of stumbling at home following tremendous results away from L4.
Everton changed the narrative after following their accomplished Merseyside derby success at Anfield with an early goal to rock Southampton.
And when the visitors threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, Godfrey and his fellow defenders stood firm.
“Sometimes, when you score early, you find yourself dropping deep and inviting pressure,” said Godfrey.
“It was important to not hang back because they will put long balls on you and apply pressure and that is when you see teams conceding late.
“We kept reiterating that on the pitch and kept going.
“We stuck together and showed great character to pull through.
“If we carry on doing what we are and remain focused, then, hopefully, there will be many more clean sheets to come.”
Everton boast the Premier League’s fourth best away record, having won eight and drawn two of 12 matches.
They’ve found the going tougher in their own stadium, claiming 17 points from a possible 39.
But with six Goodison league games remaining – in addition to a home FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City – Godfrey is confident Everton have regained their poise at a crucial juncture.
He added: “We have been disappointed with our home form, it’s not been good enough, but we dug in for a massive win against Southampton.
“It was really important to turn that [Goodison form] around and to come away from a difficult game with three points.
“You want to make your home ground a fortress, a difficult place for teams to come and play and take anything from.
“That is our intention now.”