Martinez gunning for fourth spot
© Getty Images

Roberto Martinez believes Everton will overhaul Arsenal into the race to qualify for the UEFA Champions League if they win their last three matches. Martinez's fifth-placed team trail fourth-placed Arsenal by a point after their bid to finish in the top four fell out of their own hands with last week's 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace.

A 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday in the following match revived Everton's belief that they can still qualify for Europe's elite club competition. Now Everton head to Southampton on Saturday before hosting Manchester City and then finishing the English Premier League season at Hull.

The Gunners end their campaign with matches against Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich, making them favourites to win the qualification battle. But Martinez remains confident three more victories will be enough to overtake Arsene Wenger's team.

"Looking at the last 15 years or so, fourth place is well below 76 points," Martinez said. "There has only been one season where you have needed 76 points for that (fourth) and on average it's always been a lot less points. You don't go far wrong when you look at the points tally.

That's the target we are giving ourselves, how many points we can get from now until the end of the season.
Roberto Martinez, Everton manager

"We are well aware anything around 72 to 75 points is Champions League football so we are desperate to try to make sure we get that. It doesn't matter who you are playing against or who you are fighting against to get into that fourth spot it's always the points tally that matters. I will go as far to say if you get nine points and you don't get into the Champions League, you can be proud and very happy any way.

"That's the target we are giving ourselves, how many points we can get from now until the end of the season. We have to make sure that we are fresh, we have recovered and look at every game as a unique opportunity to show what we can do."

However, Martinez's hopes for a Champions League spot are in danger of being hampered by Everton's lengthy injury list. Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas has been ruled out for the season with a groin problem sustained in the 2-0 win over Manchester United, while defender Sylvain Distin is out of the trip to Southampton with a hamstring injury sustained in the same match.

Captain Phil Jagielka is still sidelined, along with Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Lacina Traore and Arouna Kone.