Leighton Baines says Everton are in a "new era" and feels Ronald Koeman can guide the Toffees to the Premier League's top echelons. Everton have experienced major changes both on and off the pitch over the last year, with the mood surrounding the club much improved compared to the final days of Roberto Martinez.
Everton regressed under the former Wigan Athletic manager but are now back to being the best of the rest under Koeman and harbour aspirations of regularly challenging the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for silverware in the near future.
Baines, who joined his boyhood club in 2007, thinks everyone at the club shares the same ambition and believes there is much to be positive about at Goodison Park.
"We know that the ambition of the football club is there, the ambition of the manager is there and of course the players as well, so everyone is on the same page," Baines told Sky Sports. "We are in a new era in terms of the manager, his staff, a new owner and things like that so the club are in a really positive position at the moment.
"Ultimately, the ambitions of the football club are going to go beyond [finishing in the top seven]. We've got to start somewhere in terms of turning things around from the last couple of seasons and we've made good progress in doing that. Now the club have got higher hopes and hopefully this is the start of a new era for the club."
If Everton do have designs on muscling their way into the top six, they must keep hold of talisman striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgium international is set to pen a new five-year contract worth £140,000-a-week but is still not guaranteed to stay with the club beyond the summer, according to Koeman.
Baines chose not touch upon the future of Lukaku, who recently became Everton's top scorer in Premier League history with 61 goals, and says that his teammates can depend on him finding the back of net with unerring regularity.
"I think what he has proven is that he is a top-level goalscorer in a top league in the world. He has proved that now on numerous occasions," Baines added." He is going to guarantee you goals as long as he is fit and on the pitch.
"I think that is another thing he deserves a lot of credit for is the amount of football he has played for us over the last few years. We have depended on him at times and he has been there for us."