I’ve been quite critical about the Europa League and our participation in it, especially as our Premier League safety is yet to be assured.
However for this article I’m going to try and put the shoe on the other foot and look at any potential positive impact a run in this particular competition could have.
I would say the vast majority of fans were unhappy that we didn’t strengthen in the summer and for me it is the primary reason why we’ve struggled to maintain league form and progress in Europe. Of course injuries have played a part but that would have been negated to a point had the team been sufficiently strengthened before the start of the season. It wasn’t, a mistake was made, and even those in power at the club admit that.
However that crucial mistake has been rectified and we recruited superbly in January, to a point where we have actual quality in depth in most areas of the squad. This has the knock on effect strengthening the side we can put out in Europe whilst also giving us the option of resting players if needed. We do have a squad that can attack on both fronts now, so why not use it?
We are all aware of the feel good the wins against Aston Villa and Chelsea gave us I presume? Well can’t positive results in Europe give us the same feeling? And won’t the players also benefit from the winning mentality only brought about by winning games?
You can also look at the fact that we added a lot of new faces (in relative terms) during January so the extra games will give them a chance to integrate quicker. What would be better? No game over these two weeks or two extra games to build a degree of understanding between new and old faces?
So after being a mardy arse for so long about the Europa League, could it actually be a good thing for us? We’ll see soon enough I guess but perhaps this whole European adventure could end up being a positive.
Have I missed anything?