(Reuters) - Everton can turn a successful season into a “fantastic” one and fight for fifth place in the Premier League table if they win their next two home games, manager Ronald Koeman said on Friday.
Everton, who are seventh in the standings, three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United and fifth-placed Arsenal, host defending champions Leicester City on Sunday before another home game against Burnley the following weekend.
”I expect if we get six points out of the next two home games then we will fight for fifth and sixth place,“ Koeman told reporters on Friday. ”We are fighting for European football.
“If you finish seventh it’s a really successful season. If you get more out of it then it’s fantastic.”
Leicester were flirting with relegation before sacking Claudio Ranieri in February, but have rallied impressively under new manager Craig Shakespeare, winning five league games in a row to climb to 11th in the table.
“I don’t understand the difference,” Koeman said. “It’s the same players. Maybe the manager is keeping the team the same as last season. We expect a tough opponent.”
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, who has missed Everton’s last two games with a calf injury, is a doubt for Sunday’s game as he faces a late fitness test.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich