Roberto Martinez believes the side that misses out on Champions League football this season will be rated as the most unlucky of the modern era.

Everton can put the pressure back on Arsenal in the race for fourth place today. If they were to secure a ninth win from 10 games at Southampton, it would take them to a record high of 72 points.

In an ‘average’ year, that would be more than enough for a top four spot, but Everton could even win their last three fixtures and still be pipped by Arsenal.

Martinez feels the level of competition between the top seven clubs means reaching the Champions League spots will be more difficult than winning the title. ‘It’s going to get harder and harder,’ said Martinez. ‘Look at the teams missing out, or sixth and seventh, Spurs and Manchester United, and you’d be expecting them to be fighting for the top four. It will be harder to get into the Champions League than win the title. That’s the way this league is going.

‘Look at the tally and you won’t see a league in world football where the difference between winning the title and finishing fifth is so close,’ he added.

If Everton do fail to finish in the top four, Martinez is confident his team can compete again in 12 months’ time as Liverpool’s charge for the title has altered perceptions. ‘You should now be able to try to win the league with a strong team,’ Martinez said. – Daily Mail