Phil Jagielka admits Everton's thoughts are already starting to turn towards the 2011/12 campaign.
The Toffees have endured a hugely frustrating season, with inconsistency having blighted them throughout.
A slow start left them facing an uphill struggle from the off, with a much-touted European challenge faltering as a result.
A 2-1 victory over Fulham on Saturday helped to lift them into eighth place, and onto 40 points, but it would appear that they have left it too late to mount a late surge for a Europa League spot.
Jagielka concedes as much, with the England international revealing that attentions are now focused on ensuring that next season lives up to expectations.
He said: "I was really excited about the start of this season but unfortunately we didn't start the way we wanted to.
"It snowballed and we didn't pick up many points.
"As much as I don't want to rule out the rest of this season, I can't wait for the next.
"We have got some exciting players and hopefully the gaffer can add to that and we have a decent pre-season and, for once, a decent start to the season."
For now Jagielka is determined to help Everton end the current campaign on a high, with it important that they do not allow their standards to slip again and stumble into the summer.
He said: "Obviously we are not 100 per cent safe yet but I think there are probably too many teams down there for us to be considered relegation material.
"I think we are looking upwards now rather than behind us but there are not many more places where we can climb.
"You never know, if we can put a decent run of results together, we can see where it takes us.
"But then again, if in a couple of games we have not picked up six points, it is a case of staying as high up as possible."