Everton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has stressed the need for Ronald Koeman's side to improve their away form next season if they harbour serious aspirations of qualifying for the Champions League.
The Toffees were imperious at Goodison Park last season, winning 13 games and suffering defeat just twice, but it was a different story on the road. Koeman's side won just four league games and only garnered 19 points on their travels last season, and Schneiderlin, a £24m arrival from Manchester United in January transfer window, says the Blues need to rectify their away form if they are to truly test the top six.
"I think that is what separated us from the top six, our away form," Schneiderlin told Everton's official website. "If we had won more away games, we would have been in the top six or top five.
"We need to correct this for next season and know why we are not playing as good away from home. If we want to be a team that pushes for the Champions League, we need to win more away from home."
Everton are intent on improving on their showing from last season and have made strides in doing so with the signings of Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen and the imminent arrival of forward Sandro Ramirez from Malaga.
The Toffees are spending heavily on fresh faces, but Bosnian international Muhamed Besic will feel like a new signing after missing the whole of last season with a serious knee injury.
The former Hamburg midfielder returned to full fitness towards the end of the campaign but did not manage a minute of Premier League action. Schneiderlin, currently in the international wilderness with his last cap for France coming almost two years ago, thinks Everton will benefit from the added competition that Besic will provide ahead of their Europa League commitments.
"Of course it was a frustrating time for Mo but he worked hard and did very well to come back," the Everton star added. "He wants to find his best possible technique and regain his best possible shape to push for next season. It will be good to have more competition in midfield to push each other."
Besic may provide competition for a position in the Everton engine room but Ross Barkley may be fighting for minutes elsewhere next season. The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Tottenham, who are prepared to play the waiting game in the hope that Everton lower their £50m asking price, according to Sky Sports.