To be honest it doesn’t really make a difference as we were in Europe regardless, but it’s nice to know that we won’t have qualified through the back door.
When the season starts, everyone knows that 5th place is good enough to make the Europa League, and it’s only thank to favourable results in cup competitions that qualification has dropped to 6th place. Now we can rest safe in the knowledge that we haven’t had any strings pulled to get into Europe, which will no doubt be a cause for upset on Wearside.
So 5th as a minimum, it’s just getting silly now isn’t it? I keep reflecting on this season and all I can do is smile a bit and laugh to myself. It’s been the stuff that dreams are made of such is the unexpected nature of how things have gone this season.
Yet amazingly the dream is not over, not yet anyway. We are guaranteed 5th but that is the lowest we can finish. With favourable results at the weekend we could find ourselves as high as third place come close of play on Sunday. Admittedly it’s a long shot and we’re relying on other clubs slipping up, but we have a chance.
So what happens next? Well at the moment we enter the play-off round which will be drawn on the 10th August, with a tie which will be played over two weeks at the end of August, which means that our pre-season preparations shouldn’t be hindered too much.
That could change again should Chelsea win the Champions League, but I’m not sure how the permutations work on that score or when we’d enter the competition. Quite honestly, to keep things easy, it would just be better for Bayern to win the final anyway!
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