Everton defender Sylvain Distin has admitted he will have mixed emotions should the Toffees qualify for the Europa League.
A place in next season’s elite and lucrative Champions League now looks beyond the Merseysiders, who are nine points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, having played a game more than their Premier League rivals.
But last weekend’s win over Cardiff, coupled with Manchester United’s defeat by Everton’s near neighbours Liverpool, left Roberto Martinez’s men in sixth place – the final qualifying spot for European football.
However, Everton’s current squad is relatively small and any injuries collected in Europe’s second-tier tournament could have a damaging impact upon the club’s Premier League fortunes.
“It’s mixed feelings because you can’t say no to playing in Europe. As a player it’s impossible to not want that,” Distin told the Liverpool Echo.
“But it’s completely different from the Champions League in terms of finances for the club. It’s a lot of travel and you need a big squad.
“Yes, it would be amazing for the club and for the fans to be travelling back in Europe again but for the team, if we’re not going to have a much bigger squad next season, it could be tough.
“If you look at the big picture, as I say it’s important you’ve got to ensure that being in the Europa League doesn’t make you suffer back in the league.
“When you play every Thursday and come back on the Friday before playing again on the Sunday it is hard.”
However, Distin insisted a top-four finish was still in Everton’s sights.
“As long as it is mathematically possible we will try, we will not give up. We have 10 games left and will try to finish as high as we can.”