Everton boss David Moyes has warned that just securing a top-half finish in the Premier League could prove as difficult as previously trying to break into the top four.
He told the Daily Post: "I think it will be as hard to get into the top ten of the Premier League this year as maybe it has been to get into the top four in the past.
"I think a lot of it has to do with money. A lot of those clubs have big investors and backers which helps to raise standards.
"We've bought big by our standards, but in the main we're one of the sides that doesn't have that. We always try and compete and I think we have done in the last three or four seasons.
"You can go and throw your money at it like some clubs have done, but we have done it differently.
"We have tried to build year by year, but as you can see by the sackings going about at the moment, a lot of clubs don't allow that to happen.
"We have had a plan in place for a long time now about how we want Everton to go forward. The board have backed me on that and we have gradually improved."