Romelu Lukaku says Champions League 'very realistic' for Everton

Top four realistic for Everton - Lukaku

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku says a Champions League place is a "very realistic" aim this season.

The Toffees are 10th in the Premier League and six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Everton host surprise leaders Leicester on Saturday (15:00 GMT).

"We want to do well in the League Cup and FA Cup but the Champions League spot is the main goal," Lukaku, 22, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It is very realistic when you see the results in the league."

While Leicester top the table, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Watford are also in the top eight.

"The teams that you don't expect to be up there are getting stronger so it is a really exciting time," added Lukaku.

Lukaku v Vardy

Vardy "delighted" with scoring record

On Saturday, Lukaku will line up against Jamie Vardy, who last month set a new record by scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games.

Lukaku has scored six goals in his past six league games, but says winning matches matters more to him than records.

Asked about Leicester, he said: "If a team is number one in the league it means they deserve it. They win games, play good football and are very disciplined."

Thank you, Jose

Lukaku was speaking before Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was sacked on Thursday.

Mourinho allowed the Belgium international to leave Stamford Bridge in July 2014, with Everton paying £28m to sign him.

"I wanted to play and get minutes under my belt," said Lukaku, who has scored 15 goals this season.

"I never got the chance to say it but I would say thank you to Jose Mourinho.

"I had one conversation with him a few days before I left and I told him I wanted to go and I think he saw in my eyes that I really needed to play because it was the year of the World Cup.

"He was the one who gave me the green light to go."

You can hear the interview on BBC Radio 5 live from 19:00 GMT on Friday and watch it on Football Focus at 12:10 on BBC One on Saturday.