Everton boss Koeman stresses Europa League importance

Everton manager Ronald Koeman insists progress in the Europa League is high on his agenda as the Toffees wait to learn their play-off round opponents.

The Dutchman has guided Everton to within one step of the group stage following their 2-0 aggregate victory over Ruzomberok in the third qualifying round.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the second leg on Thursday to go with Leighton Baines' winner at Goodison Park last week.

Everton have spent heavily over the off-season and Koeman, who was most recently dumped out at the play-off round while with Southampton two seasons ago, is keen to see that investment rewarded with a European run.

"This competition has always been important for me," he said.

"I like to be in Europe - it's important for our experience. It's good for the club, the players and the fans.

"It's not easy to reach the group stages but we will do everything to get there."

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While Everton were largely disjointed in their win at the Stadion pod Cebratom, Calvert-Lewin's classy second-half strike did provide another positive ahead of their season-opening Premier League clash with Stoke City next weekend.

Koeman believes the England Under-20 international has the tools to flourish this season.

"Maybe Dominic feels a bit more comfortable as one of two strikers," the Everton boss said. "He's strong, he's fast and he scored a great goal.

"It was a physical game and 90 minutes that the players needed. We are through to the next round and I'm really happy."

The draw for the Europa League play-off round will be conducted in Switzerland on Friday.

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