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Apr 4, 2013

Moyes sets European target for Everton

David Moyes believes Everton will have to top 60 points to secure a return to Europe next season. With eight games to play, Moyes' side are four points from a top-four place, which would seal a place in the Champions League qualifiers.

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And they are two points off fifth position - which, if they were to finish there, would guarantee a Europa League spot.

Everton have 51 points after 30 games, a tally they have bettered at this stage of the season only once in the Premier League era – in 2007-08.

That season, Moyes' men went on to finish fifth with 65 points, their highest final league total since 1988.

And the Everton manager feels his team, who are sixth in the Premier League, will need to go close to that tally in order to bring European football to Goodison Park for the first time since 2009.

He told the Liverpool Daily Post: "We have a tough run-in and with the league table still being tight I am hoping that we can do what we have done in the past and finish strongly.

"With eight games to go last season we had 40 points, this time around we have 51 and if we want to have any chance of getting close to Europe I feel we will certainly have to get above the 60 points mark."

Five of Everton's final eight league matches are away, with four of them against teams immediately around them, starting with Sunday's trip to third-placed Tottenham.

They also face trips to fifth-placed Arsenal, seventh-placed Liverpool and fourth-placed Chelsea before the end of the season.

Moyes has traditionally taken his side away for a short break to revitalise them for the run-in, but has not been able to do that this year.

He added: "In recent seasons I would have looked to have taken the team away to have a few days training in the sunshine, but the way the fixtures have worked I have not found it possible this year.

"At this time of the season we try to keep the training short and sharp as much as we can. It's a pattern we've followed in previous years and it has tended to work for us."

Moyes, meanwhile, has revealed Everton could join the NextGen Series, a Champions League-style competition for under-19 teams across Europe. Alan Irvine, the head of the club's academy, has discussed the possibility of taking the club into the tournament.

Moyes said: "Both Alan Irvine and I are very keen to keep developing our academy and we are considering joining the NextGen Series, which we were invited into when it first started.

"We didn't feel we had the numbers to be able to cope with more games but it's something that I would be keen for us to get involved with in the future.

"The experience of European games would be helpful in the development of the young players."

Aston Villa won the latest instalment of the competition on Monday following their 2-0 win over Chelsea.

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