The Europa League final, no doubt something we can all be happy to be participants in. We’ve beaten Steaua București in the round of 16 – unconvincingly as it may be – and qualified to the Quarter-Final where we faced Rubin Kazan slightly edging them off in what was one of our worst performances in the second leg in the Benitez era – and that’s saying a lot. But nonetheless, we managed to qualify and went up to face the side that some would say humiliated Tottenham: Basel. While they did give us a challenge in the first leg, we truly did annihilate them in the second leg completing our deserved route to the Europa League final. This leaves us at his question: Can it really be considered an achievement?
I asked this question earlier on Twitter and the overwhelming response was that it should not be considered and achievement reaching the Europa League final seeing that the only reason Chelsea are in the competition is because of our failure to qualify from the group stages – something Chelsea have consistently done over the past nine seasons.
And I have to agree. Our presence in the Europa League should only serve as a reminder of our inability to be in the knockout stages. Instead of remembering it as an achievement, we should remember it as a hallmark of our failure in the Champions League. For a big club like Chelsea – Que Liverpool fans saying we aren’t a big club – being in the Champions League consistently and qualifying into the knockout rounds is integral for our development as a European powerhouse. Being in the Europa League hinders our development and our perception as a big European club.
That’s not to say winning the Europa League would not be something to celebrate. It’s to say that winning it should only serve to remind us of where the fans’ hearts and the players’ duties truly are: The Champions League.
Being in the final should not be considered as an achievement in my opinion. It should however serve as something to encourage the players to never be in that position again,and to strive and fight in order to qualify for the Champions League – which I believe we are doing now – and qualifying in the Quarter and Semi-finals as we always have.