The group stages of the Champions League and the Europa League are finally over.
Eight teams from the Champions League will now play in the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their respective groups. However, one man is not happy about this.
Who else could it be other than Jose Mourinho. The former Manchester United manager feels that it’s not fair that Champions League teams get a second chance.
Europa League Structure:
The Europa League is the second tier of the Champions League. There are 12 groups with 4 teams in each.
The top two in every group progress to the next round. Eight teams from the Champions League join them at this stage.
The knockouts start with the round of 32. The Champions League knockouts, however, start with the round of 16 given that they have only 8 groups and no teams join them at a later stage.
Mourinho expressed his thoughts:
Mourinho’ Tottenham Hotspur reached the round of 32 after finishing 2nd in Group J. He feels that teams such as Manchester United are favourites now that they are playing in a lower tier.
Manchester United are one of the top teams. The group was very hard, PSG, Manchester and Leipzig, very hard. We all knew it was not going to be easy for any one of them and we all knew from that group a top team would drop into the Europa League.– Jose Mourinho
Manchester United slipped out of the Champions League after losing their final league game 2-3 to RB Leipzig. They are the team that have the highest points among the 3rd place teams. It shows how competitive the group was.
Jose explained that teams that play in the Champions League are level above the teams that play in the Europa League. When 8 heavyweights drop from to the lower level, the quality improves but it also sidelines the teams that were already vying for the Europa League Trophy.
No doubt the quality improves, the intensity improves and it’s a good thing for the competition. But from the sport point of view is when I think it’s not fair that a team that doesn’t succeed in one competition drops to another.– Jose Mourinho
A lot of the teams in the Europa League doing well in their respective leagues and we can expect very competitive knockout stages. With teams such as AC Milan, AS Roma, Leicester City, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham in the mix it’s going to be exciting to find out who the winner is going to be.
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