Martinez focused on strong end to Everton's season

Everton must secure their Premier League status this season before planning can begin for 2015-16, says manager Roberto Martinez.

Roberto Martinez has dismissed talk of planning for next season, insisting everyone at Everton is focused on securing their Premier League status.

After finishing fifth in Martinez's first campaign, Everton have struggled this season as a congested fixture list and host of injuries have taken their toll.

With their involvement in the UEFA Europa League ended by Dynamo Kiev last month, Martinez's men now only have the league to focus on and the Spaniard is targeting a top-half finish.

"It would be a big mistake to start planning for next season," he said. "We have had a good reaction in the league and now we have 24 points to fight for.

"They will be very significant in terms of getting stronger and making sure we finish as high as we can in the table, and get the momentum we had in the last campaign. 

"There can be no distractions, the league position is everything that matters, every game is a really special opportunity to show what we can do and how strong we can finish.

"We had two very good wins [over Newcastle United and QPR before the international break], they were important wins and have given us a sense of confidence and belief. 

"We are fighting to reach the 40 points, that's the target, nothing will change until we achieve that."

Everton face Southampton at Goodison Park on Saturday.