Arsenal news: Arsene Wenger won’t prioritise Europa League over top flight


Arsene Wenger insists he will not prioritise the Europa League ahead of the top flight as Arsenal bid to return to the Champions League.

Arsenal failed to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in two decades last season as they finished fifth and their attempts to get back through the Premier League have not gone perfectly so far.

Wenger’s side currently find themselves in the sixth place, five points off fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of their visit to Tottenham on Saturday.

Meanwhile the Gunners are among the favourites to win the Europa League, where they will return to action against Swedish side Ostersunds in the round of 32 on Thursday.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho effectively sacrificed his hopes of a top four finish last season as he focused on what would ultimately be a victorious campaign in the Europa League. It is not a plan Wenger intends to replicate.

“We want to qualify through the league first,” Wenger said. “Because you cannot bank on a cup success you know? That would not be reasonable.

“In top level sport you do not switch on Friday to play on Saturday and the day after you switch off for three weeks & you switch on again. It doesn’t work like that.

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“The results are a consequence of a consistency of attitude and of focus of everybody individually and of the team as a whole.

“There is no prioritisation at all.

“We want to win our Champions League spot through the league and as well if possible through the Europa League but today it is not tomorrow we play the final of the Europa League.

“We are at the start of the real competition now and we have still a possibility to qualify through the league so we have absolutely to try to achieve that.”

Regardless of whether Arsenal manage to get back to the Champions League through the Premier League or Europa League the Gunners have struggled to mount a convincing title challenge once more.

Arsenal are currently 24 points behind league leaders Manchester City, whose youthful side look set to dominate the Premier League for years to come.

Whilst Wenger admits he faces a tough challenge bridging the gap to City he insists he can still win a fourth Premier League title at Arsenal.

(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Wenger added: “If I start a season without believing I can win the Premier League it’s better I don’t start it but having said that you have many many clubs who have invested a huge amount of money who are as well far behind Man City at the moment because they have invested even more.

“My biggest regret in the modern game is that too much money is concentrated in too little clubs and that the unpredictability of the game has gone a little bit. And when you sit there and think the effort that is behind every day work and in December you look at Europe & you think that in four of the five biggest leagues the championship is already decided.

“That is something that is not not not acceptable and not nice. I think football doesn’t go the right way on that front because the unpredictability of our sport is a very important quality.”

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