Arsene Wenger is urging his side to ensure they remain in the Champions League, but says that if results didn’t go their way, the club would take the Europa League seriously.
Obviously it’s viewed as the poor relation in terms of European competition, but winners in recent years have included Sevilla, Chelsea (who won it having failed to qualify from their Champions League group), and Atletico Madrid, and ultimately it’s trophy there to be won.
Asked how he would approach it if that’s where Arsenal ended up, Wenger said, “We would take the competition seriously – but we are not out yet.”
Pressed on whether or not the Thursday/Sunday schedule would be damaging, he continued, “I believe that this problem is exaggerated a little bit in England because we play Wednesday and Saturday, so it is the same as Thursday and Sunday. I can’t see the difference.
“There are plenty of examples in Portugal and Spain where teams have taken it seriously and won the championship. Benfica are the example, Sevilla have done well.”
The Arsenal manager also paid short shrift to suggestions that Bayern Munich might slacken off against Olympiacos in order to get rid of the Gunners.
“In front of their crowd they will want to win,” he said. “That will be really Machiavellian to think they will deliberately lose to get us out.”