Morgan Schneiderlin believes Everton can catch Liverpool and Manchester United in the race for Europe this season. The Toffees have closed the gap on their north-west rivals in recent weeks and currently sit in seventh, just five points behind United and six behind Liverpool, who have seen their hopes of silverware completely diminish in recent weeks.

Schneiderlin, who swapped Manchester for Merseyside in the January transfer window in a deal that could be worth up to £24m, spoke of the need for Everton to end the season strongly and believes finishing above the Reds and Red Devils is certainly within the realms of possibility.

"We want to finish high and catch the teams above us," Schneiderlin told Sky Sports. "Liverpool are six points clear, Manchester United are five - so why not? We can catch them if we have a good run of games. We need to finish strong so we want to give the fans Europa League football for next season and build a platform."

The former Manchester United midfielder has hit the ground running at his new club and put in a hugely impressive display during his side's 6-3 win over Bournemouth on Saturday (4 February). Schneiderlin understands the demands of Everton manager Ronald Koeman and paid tribute to the legendary Dutchman, who he previously worked with at Southampton.

"He says what he thinks, but that's important," Schneiderlin added. "He wants the players to improve. But he is very calm. He keeps his head on his shoulders no matter if things are going well or bad. He tries to say good things and keep it straight. He is a winner - as both a player and as a manager, so it's important we do this for him."

Morgan Schneiderlin
Schneiderlin has made an impressive start to life at his new club Getty Images

Everton have won six of their last nine matches in the Premier League and will hope to continue their purple patch against Middlesbrough. Schneiderlin will hope the Blues can turn up the heat on Manchester United and bitter city rivals Liverpool at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday. Liverpool host Everton on 1 April in a game that could suddenly prove vital to both club's European aspirations.