By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti says he is targeting a European qualification spot after bringing in three major signings, including Colombian James Rodriguez, to boost his squad.
"I think the goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions of the Premier League to be able to reach Europe next season. The goal is quite clear. We have this desire, this ambition and I think we can," Ancelotti told a news conference ahead of Sunday's opening game at Tottenham Hotspur.
Rodriguez, who joins from Real Madrid, is the biggest name purchase made by Ancelotti this week but Everton have also added Brazilian midfielder Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucoure, the imposing defensive midfielder from Watford.
Those acquisitions have once again raised expectations on Merseyside that the perennial mid-table side could be about to make a leap in quality.
"I know the passion our supporters have for us. They are really excited (by the signings), they want to have a club that is competitive in the Premier League," said Ancelotti.
"We can satisfy that desire this season, we will do our best for this," added the Italian, who worked with Rodriguez at Real and Bayern Munich.
Rodriguez, who has signed a two year contract with an option for a third year, certainly believes Everton are capable of competing for silverware.
"Why not? It is a club that means business. There are a lot of serious-minded people at the club at all levels who mean to achieve and that means winning trophies," he said.
"That won't happen overnight but I have seen real positive signs we can make progress but I think trophies are more than a possibility," he added.
A classic No. 10 who enjoys playing between the lines, Rodriguez will have to quickly adjust to the high-tempo and physicality of the English game but says he is ready for the Premier League challenge.
"I have always said that football is the same wherever you go. If you have talent or quality you can play in any country. English football is known for being tough but I am confident I can settle in and settle in quickly," he said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)