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Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 16:48 UK

Howard praises Everton team-mates

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard
Howard has been in fine form for Everton this season

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard believes the club can be proud of what they have achieved this season despite their 2-1 defeat by Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Howard, who is set to sign a new deal at Goodison Park, has been key to the club's recent fortunes.

"We finished fifth in the Premier League and we're happy about that," Howard told BBC Radio Merseyside .

"We're happy about getting to a cup final and disappointed we didn't win. But all-in-all its been a good season."

The United States international hopes his side can now push on and compete with the likes of Chelsea in the future as he feels the margin between Everton and the top sides is getting smaller.

I think for us to finish outside a European place would be very disappointing

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard

But Howard has conceded it will be difficult as the Stamford Bridge side have an abundance of quality in their ranks.

"That's probably why they finished third and we finished fifth," he said. "There is not a whole lot of difference [between Everton and Chelsea].

"But they're Chelsea and they're a great team. They do spend millions but they spend it on quality.

"I think their quality shone through [in the final]."

Everton will enjoy European football next season as they enter the new UEFA Europa League.

And Howard believes the squad deserve a lot of credit for playing on the continent again.

"That's the standard we've set recently," he continued. "I think for us to finish outside a European place would be very disappointing. It would be seen as more of a failure."

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