- Premier League
Lukaku says top four finish a certainty for Everton
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku believes his team are certainties to secure a top four finish this season if they maintain their ruthless streak, and he has not ruled Roberto Martinez's side out of an improbable push for the Premier League title.
Lukaku got back to scoring form as he fired the winner in Sunday's 2-1 win against Southampton at Goodison Park, with the loanee Chelsea striker in a bullish mood as he prepares for the second half of the season.
"You can say we are outsiders for the title now, you don't need to be shy about that," Lukaku told reporters ahead of Everton's game at Stoke on New Year's Day.
"If we are more ruthless we will end definitely in the top four, definitely. We have two losses and a lot of wins. In the games we drew we weren't ruthless enough, so if you change that and become more ruthless it becomes more wins and then we are up there. I am not surprised we are top four contenders.
"You have got to when you look at our points. I knew from the first day that I arrived on the training ground and trained with the team. The quality is here."
Lukaku went on to reveal some of his Everton team-mates scoffed at his suggestions that the abilities of Martinez's squad is comparable to the star-studded Chelsea team-mates he left behind when he opted to spend the season on loan at Goodison Park.
"There is not a lot of difference [between Chelsea and Everton] and that is why I think I made a good choice," stated Lukaku. "I knew after that first training session, after seeing the quality in the squad.
"I didn't want to say anything to the players, but then I spoke to Phil Jagielka on the and said: 'This year we will do something special because you are all special players'. I have trained with the best players, in my eyes, in the country, and I'm telling you, these Everton players are not far from it.
"Phil just laughed, but I was very serious and now we are showing a lot of great performances. In the New Year we have to be consistent and work and work and change those draws into wins and then we will be up there."
Lukaku admitted his recent dip in scoring form may have something to do with the gruelling schedule in the Premier League, with his experience of starting so many games this season proving to be a challenge to the 20-year-old Belgian.
"I have found it hard at some points," he added. "After the [Manchester] United game [earlier this month], I felt I wasn't as sharp and as fresh as at the start when I had something like seven league goals in eight games.
"Since my time at Anderlecht, and I am talking three years ago, I haven't played this amount of games. I knew that if I didn't score I had to defend for the team or give an assist. I knew that I would score sooner rather than later because of the work I did."
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