Villas-Boas stated his confusion at the mentality of English teams towards the Europa League.
This season, Brendan Rodgers has opted to rest key players like Suarez and Gerrard in favour of playing fringe and the youth players. Harry Redknapp did the same last season in the competition too. But why is this the case?
I asked the question ‘When did the Europa League and League Cup become unimportant for English clubs?’ in the Reddit forum and it generated much discussion.
The main point that was revealed is the money that’s involved in the final standings of the Premier League is worth far more than a run in the cup that might lead to nothing. But surely it’s worth the risk?
I find it depressing that money is more important than the possibility of winning a cup. I’m not talking about the Stoke Citys of this world (no offence) but more like the Newcastles, Liverpools and Spurs. I reckon if these three teams took it seriously and played their first eleven there’s no way they couldn’t reach the final.
Last season Stoke were knocked out just after the group stages. Fulham surprised everyone when Roy Hodgson’s well drilled team reached the final in 2010 and were beaten by a very good Atletico Madrid side. Fulham entered the competition in the third round against Lithuanian side Vetra. Hodgson’s team was his strongest eleven:
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Konchesky, Hughes, Hangeland, Dempsey, Murphy, Gera, Etuhu, Zamora, Johnson.
This was more or less the team that played every game there after. Hodgson made his intent clear – he thought his team could go on to lift the trophy.
However, it did affect their league form, finishing 12th; the previous season they finished 7th. What’s the gap in payment for finishing 7th and 12th last season? Around £4 million. Sure, it’s a huge chunk of money to be missing out on, but Fulham nearly won the Europa Cup!
With Liverpool, it’s a slightly different story. They’ve had recent cup success. Spurs last won a trophy back in 2008. Newcastle on the other hand haven’t won anything for over 50 years (discounting promotions, Intertoto Cup and Inter-Cities Fair cup).
Other comments were it’s not just the English clubs who don’t take it seriously. Doesn’t this just enforce the reason why they should go all guns blazing? Someone else said they wouldn’t care much if they did win it. Really? So if your team reached the final, it wouldn’t matter to you at all?
Do you agree with Injury Time Equaliser?Would winning the Europa League mean nothing to you as a fan? Tell us and state what team you support in the comments section below.