Newcastle and now Swansea show the trouble with The Europa League

Swansea Liberty Stadium

Apart from Chelsea, no Premier League side has gained anything from playing in Europe's second-tier competition of late: just look at Newcastle and Swansea.

Andre Villas-Boas is a big fan of the Europa League.

The Tottenham manager has long since championed Europe’s second-tier competition as a huge opportunity for sides to showcase their abilities on the continent.

But which British teams has the competition actually benefitted in recent years?

Arguably, just one: the winners of last season’s competition, Chelsea.

And even then, they did so with an abundance of international superstars, world-class facilities and a transfer budget that dwarfed that of their opposition, and did not have to play the early rounds, parachuted out of the Champions League instead.

What about those not owned by a billionaire?

Our most recent evidence takes us to Wales, where Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City side are struggling to meet the demands of continental football.

A historic 3-0 win at Valencia at the start of the campaign promised glory at the Liberty Stadium, while the Swans could only dream of Europa League football after their Capital One Cup heroics last season.

But a matter of weeks later, Swansea’s season is unravelling before their eyes. Laudrup’s side have won just once in eight games in all competitions – and are not even guaranteed qualification from the group stages.

And it does not stop there. Just take a look at Newcastle, who have won their last four Premier League games, and look like the side that took the division by storm two years ago.

Last season, Alan Pardew’s side barely survived relegation. Why? They simply could not juggle the stresses of domestic football on a weekend and trips to every corner of Europe on a Thursday night.

And how about Tottenham themselves? How many points have they dropped after a midweek trip to Kazakhstan or Norway?

Perhaps Harry Redknapp had it right. For most British clubs, the Europa League is nothing but trouble.

images: © Gareth Lovering

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