Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has written in his Colossusbets.com column that he does not expect the Southampton bosses to be too concerned about the team’s current form.
Ronald Koeman’s side are virtually out of the running for a Champions League place, but they can still clinch a Europa League spot for themselves next season.
Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton are all in contention of two of those Europa League places, but former Newcastle United striker Owen claims that the Saints will not want to be in the competition next season.
“Tottenham had already played two matches in that competition before the end of August this season, and the Thursday-Sunday schedule does take its toll on players,” the former England international wrote in his Colossusbets.com column.
“And plenty of clubs down the years have fared badly in the Premier League after qualifying for the competition the season before, especially the ones with smaller squads.
“For example, Newcastle went from fifth in 2012 to 16th in 2013. So perhaps Southampton won’t privately be too concerned that their season has fizzled out somewhat, most recently in a 2-1 loss at Sunderland.”
While playing in the Europa League is not ideal for a club trying to finish in the top four of the Premier League, for Southampton it will be deemed as success.
True, playing on Thursday nights will affect the players next season, but there is no guarantee that the Saints will end up in the top four without Europa League commitments.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will be the hot favourites to end up in the top four next season, and Southampton will find it very tough to challenge them.
Playing in the Europa League will mean that the Saints will have a chance to win a major trophy.