Hibbert: Toffees need a trophy

Tony Hibbert believes qualifying for Europe is no longer an acceptable target for Everton and they must end their trophy drought next season.

The Toffees’ chances of playing in the Europa League were virtually ended when they lost at Manchester United and city rivals Liverpool beat Birmingham to move five points clear in sixth place with four matches remaining.

But even if they can claw back lost ground, the long-serving Hibbert, an Everton academy graduate, is already thinking about next season and ending the club’s 16-year wait for silverware.

"Whatever cup it is, we need one next season," said the 30-year-old. "Everton need silverware – the sooner the better.

"Europe is a great achievement for any club, and it’s a great experience for the fans to get away to talk about and sing about.

"I think the squad is big enough for Europe. We’ve got some good players in depth.

"We’ve got a lot of injuries again which doesn’t help but there is quality there.

"I think the squad we’ve got is capable of challenging in the domestic cups and Europe."

Everton face relegation-threatened Wigan next weekend with Manchester City and Chelsea to follow before the end of the campaign.

Hibbert said the squad had not given up hope of qualifying for Europe and near-neighbours Liverpool remain in their sights.

"I don’t think we have any fear. We need to finish the season strongly," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"We need wins and we need to keep our hopes of Europe alive as well as chasing Liverpool.

"It would mean a lot to me and the squad to get above them. We’re in touching distance, we’re over our bad start."