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Apr 16, 2013

Jagielka calls for top four assault

Everton defender Phil Jagielka has warned his team-mates they must prove themselves against the Premier League's best teams if they are to challenge for a top four finish this season.

•  Analysis: Mirallas keeps hopes alive

• Blog: Bigger challenges lie ahead

A win against Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday night will lift the Toffees into fifth place, just one point behind the Gunners in third.

Despite grabbing memorable scalps against Manchester United and Manchester City this season, Jagielka believes Everton must perform more consistently against the top sides.

"Unfortunately, we haven't turned up in some really big games," he said. "That's the challenge for us now and there is only one way to change that.

"We'd like nothing better than to put in a fantastic performance at the Emirates, come away with three points and lay that to rest. But it is not always as easy as that.

"We have gone to the Emirates and not got the rub of the green a few times. Maybe we have under-performed away, but we have done very well at home against them. We'd like to turn the tide as soon as possible."

Although a positive result would propel them into contention for Champions League qualification, Everton could drop off the pace if they fail to win a majority of the remaining games this season.

A spot in Europe's top flight competition is tempting for manager David Moyes, but the Scot played down his side's chances of grabbing fourth spot.

"If Everton did have the Champions League it could change a lot of things," Moyes said. "But I am loath to talk it up because Arsenal away it's such a difficult game. We go there as big outsiders.

"We've got an opportunity and we'll try to take it on, but it is a small chance, about 15 per cent. If we win this one we will be right in with an opportunity - but if we lose we will probably be out of that chance of making it into the top four.

"I am quite confident because I feel the players are in good fettle, and I am in good fettle, I feel good. I feel good about the team, because there are a lot of good things about them right now, so I am relaxed."

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