Nigel Martyn: Everton FC players can hold their heads up high
THERE'S no doubt missing out on the Europa League is a big disappointment but Everton's players can hold their heads high this season.
We all love big European nights and competing against teams from the continent is where the Blues want to be.
But now David Moyes and his players just have to concentrate on ensuring we're only out of Europe for a year.
The Joleon Lescott debacle and the well documented injury crisis took their toll this season. Our form since Christmas has been amazing but after a poor start we had left ourselves with just too much to do.
It's vital we start next season well and to do that we have to spend wisely this summer and get a good pre-season in to ensure everyone is ready and raring to go.
We want to get back to where we belong in the top six and with the squad Moyes has assembled I believe that's a realistic target.
The most important thing is that we hold on to our key players and in particular Steven Pienaar. He's had a great season and it's no surprise other clubs are interested in him.
I don't expect a lot of transfer activity but a couple of new faces are always good to freshen things up a bit.
It's important to have competition for places and although the current squad is good, if we have more than two or three injuries we do lose a bit of quality.
The challenge for Moyes is ensuring you are getting players better than what you've already got.
I don't think the type of players we'll be trying to attract to the club will be swayed too much by whether we can offer Europa League football. Players will want to be part of what Moyes is building at Goodison.
Our hopes of getting into the top seven were dashed on Saturday and Everton were unfortunate not to get three points at Stoke.
Phil Jagielka thought he had won the game late on when he headed home Mikel Arteta's corner but it was ruled out.
I can see why it was disallowed because Victor Anichebe was clearly in an offside position.
But what's frustrating is that there's no consistency and it's an area that needs clearing up.
The fact is next weekend someone will be stood in front of the keeper and the goal will be given.
From a keeper's perspective, I think goals like that should be disallowed. A player might not touch the ball but if he's in the keeper's eye line he's certainly interfering.
I don't think anyone really knows what the offside law is anymore. It's so open to interpretation and one referee looks at it differently from the next.
Of course if we had won at Stoke there would have been all to play for at home to Portsmouth this weekend, especially after Liverpool lost on Sunday.
After going out of the Europa League to Atletico Madrid in midweek, it was always going to be difficult for Liverpool to compete against Chelsea.
They were well beaten and could now find it difficult to lift themselves for their final game at Hull.
It would have been nice to make Liverpool sweat and put them under pressure going into that match but it wasn't to be.