Marco Silva has reiterated his desire to see Everton qualify for Europe every season and rejected suggestions doing so could hinder them domestically.
Everton are four points adrift of Wolves with two fixtures remaining in the race for seventh place in the Premier League – a position which would ensure a Europa League berth if Manchester City overcome Watford in the FA Cup final.
Burnley, their opponents at Goodison Park on Friday evening, struggled to juggle the demands of the top flight and Europe, following up last season’s seventh-place finish with a fight for survival this term.
Silva, while keeping his focus firmly on his side’s two remaining fixtures, believes a club of Everton’s stature should be competing abroad on an annual basis.
When asked about Burnley’s situation and whether he fears the same could happen to Everton, Silva replied: “I have a different opinion about this.
“Of course it’s not a moment for us to talk about if Everton qualify or not, we have to keep doing our job, fighting to achieve the points and after we will see the position in the table.
“It’s not something just in our hands, the competition is tight, we have to do our jobs and let’s see.
“We have to play every single season in European competitions for us to keep growing as a club. It has to be always a pleasure, it has to be always a fantastic challenge for us and not a problem.
“When this happens we have to prepare ourselves and the squad, and a deep squad, to prepare to play in both competitions. It will always be a big challenge, never a problem for us.”
Burnley seemed to be in dire straits when they were thumped 5-1 by Everton on Boxing Day, a result that left them three points adrift of safety at the halfway stage of the campaign.
However, they experienced an upturn in results in the new year and have guaranteed their top-flight status ahead of their penultimate fixture, a situation Silva had expected.
The Everton manager said: “They remain in the Premier League but it’s not a surprise to me.
“It’s always a tough team to play against and it will be tough again. They deserve to remain in the Premier League.”
Everton go in search of their fourth successive home win and will do so with Yerry Mina and Theo Walcott available.
Mina has been sidelined for more than a month with a hamstring injury and Walcott was a doubt for last week’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace – although he made a late cameo appearance off the bench.
Silva said of the pair: “They are OK. They are working with the team and they are fit.”
England Under-21 international Tom Davies earlier this week signed a new four-year deal with Everton.
The 20-year-old became the club’s youngest captain when he took the armband on occasion this season, though he has appeared only intermittently in recent months, with his last start coming on February 9.
But Silva holds the midfielder in high regard as he said: “It’s really important for everyone to understand that he’s still just 20 years old.
“Of course we are happy with him even if in the last three or four months of the season you didn’t see him often in our starting XI.
“(Being captain) was a fantastic feeling for him, good pressure on his shoulders, it showed the capacity to handle this pressure
“He will be more important in the future, I don’t have doubts about that.”
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