Marco Silva has dismissed Everton’s chances of breaking into the Premier League’s top six but insists he is managing an ambitious club.
The Toffees slipped eight points behind sixth-placed Manchester United following the weekend defeat at Brighton.
Silva’s team welcome mid-table rivals Leicester to Goodison Park on New Year’s Day seeking just a second win in eight top-flight fixtures.
And the former Hull and Watford boss is keen to manage expectations on Merseyside.
“As a club we didn’t say once we’ll be challenging for the top six,” said the Portuguese.
“I don’t know why you are asking me about this situation, and it’s not lack of ambition because we have big ambition behind us as a club.
“But we have to be honest and be fair with us as well and look at the other clubs for the budget they have as well.
“If you can fight for something, you will fight. If we have conditions to fight for something, we will fight as well.
“But we have to be smart in these type of things as well. Our goal is to win always the next match.”
Aside from the Boxing Day drubbing of Burnley, Everton endured a dreadful December and picked up just five points from a possible 21.
Silva admits his players may be suffering from a lack of belief as they search to regain the consistency which saw them win five of seven fixtures between late September and the end of November.
“Of course when you didn’t achieve one or two results, you can lose some confidence and it’s up to us to win again, not just one game but more games in a row,” he said.
“To win this confidence we need to grow again our moment and to do differently to be more consistent during the second round (half of the season).
“When you are consistent in your performance you are closer to achieving good results.”
Ademola Lookman, who has missed the last three games with an ankle problem, will be assessed ahead of the clash with Claude Puel’s Foxes.
Brazil forward Richarlison suffered a knock in Saturday’s defeat at the Amex Stadium but should be in contention.