Everton manager Ronald Koeman has not ruled out a strong finish to the season launching the club into Champions League contention.

A week ago the Dutchman had targeted Manchester United, one place and one point above them, as their immediate priority but with fourth-placed Arsenal now only seven points away he believes they could yet spring a major surprise.

Last season Koeman got Saints into the Europa League with a late charge which saw them take 23 points from their final 10 matches to leap into sixth.

It will take something even more special to catapult Everton into the top four - where they have finished just once in the Premier League era - especially with the six other sides already battling it out among themselves.

But last weekend's 6-3 win over Bournemouth has raised confidence levels further and after taking 17 points from a possible 21 they certainly have the momentum.

"You have changed your opinion now," Koeman said when asked whether Champions League qualification was a possibility.

"You were always speaking about top six and now you're saying we need to talk about the first four.

"Everything is possible because everybody knows the Premier League is so tough, and it's not about the opponent you play.

"I did not change my mind (on this season's aim), it's step by step. If we don't win this Saturday, we'll talk about maybe the first eight. We need to be realistic.

"The next target now is the team above us which we need to catch.

"You can't compare Everton with Southampton. Yes, normally, my teams are always in a good state until the end of the season.

"That's what we try to plan: you have more possibilities to win the game if the team is really fit.

"With Southampton, we won seven of the last eight - if we keep that at Everton then, yes, maybe something special will be possible this season."

Koeman's last stat is not quite accurate. Saints won seven of their last nine league games in 2015/16 - drawing at Everton and losing at Leicester as well.