Arsene Wenger has now admitted that the Europa League has become a priority for Arsenal, but has not ruled out qualifying for the Champions League through the Premier League just yet
It has been another difficult season for Arsene Wenger’s side and the club look set to miss out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season with Arsenal now seven points behind fifth-place Tottenham and eight behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
However, they have been performing strongly in the Europa League this season and currently have a 3-0 aggregate lead over Ostersunds FK heading into Thursday night’s second leg at the Emirates. Wenger has admitted that the tournament has become a priority for the club.
“It is one of the priorities we have. There’s a long way to go. Firstly we have to qualify tomorrow and then after that see who we get if we go through. We are focused on doing well but ideally we want to get back into the Champions League through the Premier League.” said Wenger., according to the club website.
During the group stages of the Europa League, Wenger had made use of the games to field young stars in the place of the senior players. The Frenchman admitted that it was a good experience for his younger players.
“It has been very useful, but as well they have shown me that they have the quality to compete. I think this competition has allowed them to gain confidence, to show the other players in the squad that these boys have the needed quality and they can put them under threat. Internal competition has raised as well the threat for everybody because the young players have always done well.” said the Frenchman.
When asked if he should now focus solely on the Europa League, much like Mourinho last season with Manchester United, Wenger claimed that it was still too early to do such a thing at this stage of the season.
“He has done that much later in the season [than for us now]. They were in the semi-final. We are not as far as that. We have to focus on the Premier League.” replied Wenger.