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Koeman keen to lead Everton back into European fold

Britain Football Soccer - Everton - Ronald Koeman Press Conference - Everton Training Ground - 17/6/16 Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright during the press conference Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes Livepic
Britain Football Soccer - Everton - Ronald Koeman Press Conference - Everton Training Ground - 17/6/16Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright during the press conferenceAction Images via Reuters / Ed SykesLivepic

(Reuters) - Manager Ronald Koeman is eager to lead Everton back into Europe after recent seasons have seen the Merseyside club languish among the mid-table positions in the Premier League.

The Toffees have qualified for the Europa League just twice in their last six campaigns and have failed to feature in the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition since 1971.

"I'd like to be part of bringing that back, to win and play European football, to show the ambition and spirit in the club and of course to become a strong team in the Premier League," Koeman, who joined the club last week, told British media.

"If we need players to make the team better, a budget is available to make a strong team... But for sure, to bring Everton back to fighting for the European positions (is a target)."

Everton's poor form last season saw them finish 11th and cost manager Roberto Martinez his job, with Koeman highlighting a lack of confidence within a team which squandered several two-goal leads throughout the campaign as their biggest problem.

"If I could say something then it was about confidence -- it makes a big difference... There was a lack of that confidence in several players and if you don't have that level of confidence then sometimes football is difficult," Koeman said.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)

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