Sylvain Distin has warned Everton they must be better than the Class of 2005 if they are to qualify for the Champions League.
David Moyes's side are sixth in the Premier League as they aim to finish in the top four for the first time since 2004/05. But Distin believes it is more difficult to make the top four than it was eight seasons ago.
He argues that there are more teams than ever with a realistic chance of qualifying for Europe's top club competition.
He told the Liverpool Echo: "It was the top four before, but now it seems more like it should be the top six - if not seven - and that's great.
"There are no easy games any more and I don't think you can rest any players any more. There are so many great games. It's good for the fans, the league and the players, so there are no complaints from me."
Everton were second in the Premier League at the end of September, but have dropped to sixth after drawing eight of their last 11 matches, being held 1-1 at Stoke last Saturday.
"If you want to make a big deal of it then yes, we should win at places like Stoke," Distin added. "But if you want to be realists you look at it; we faced good opposition and how much did we spend during the summer? I think less than £10 million.
"The teams above us spent big money, maybe £30 million. I don't know where the problem is. People say they're not happy if we're not in the top four, as if we should always be there. That's not the case.
"The same teams have been in the top four for the last 10 years and we just try our best. That's it. We don't have a massive squad but we have a good spirit and I think we're having a good season.
"We've lost only two games and we've played some big teams so far. Personally I don't see a problem."