Duncan Ferguson has told press that “Everton definitely belong in Europe”.

Ferguson: “Everton definitely belong in Europe. Our history suggests that with the great runs we had back in the Eighties and before. This is where we want to be.

“We need to be here, getting our name back out there and raising the club’s profile. And of course this time around the winners get a Champions League spot. We’re always hoping and striving to get into that Champions League.

“We’ve been close before. It was bad memories for us in 2005. We thought it was a poor decision then and we still think it was a poor decision now.

“People still talk about it to this day. If the referee had given the goal that night I believe we’d have beaten that team, and they went on to play in the semi-final that year so they weren’t bad at all.

“We had them on the rack that night and but for one disgraceful decision to disallow a perfectly good goal we’d have gone into the group stages.

“It does still rankle me. It was a disgrace what that referee did.

“He tried to make out that Marcus Bent was involved in some kind of incident but Marcus wasn’t even in the picture. It was a shambles.

“We had a hangover from that going into playing the next team then in the Uefa League and Bucharest turned us over because we were still reeling.

“I think in some way we’re still feeling that game even now. We want to put it to bed.”

“Our manager always speaks positively about the Europa League and it’s something we’re all behind,” he said. “It’s a great experience.

“This competition is a great grounding for the players, and we’ve got a lot of young players who will benefit. We’ve got lads who have been through it all before and they will help as well.

“It’s the next best thing to the Champions League so we do embrace it and it would be nice to go one further.

“It’s not easy and a lot of clubs spend a lot of money. But we’re trying to be the best we can possibly be and for a good few years we’ve been there pushing for that fourth place. As long as we continue to do that I believe we will break through.

“Last season would normally have been enough points to get us there so it shows you we’re progressing.

“We’ve been close before too, although we’ve only qualified that once for it when we finished fourth, and everyone knows what happened next.”

“It’s fantastic to be here. I love it. It’s great to get this experience as a coach having experienced it as a player.

“It’s a big part of my education but more importantly we want to do well for the fans.”

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