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Wed Apr 23 16:09:11 SAST 2014

Coaches support ‘improving’ Europa League

Brian Homewood, Reuters | 06 September, 2012 15:060 Comments
FC Internazionale Milano v FC Vaslui - UEFA Europa League Play-off Round
Rodrigo Palacio (C) of Inter Milan celebrates with team-mates after scoring the equalising goal during the Europa League play-off round second leg match against Vaslui at the San Siro on August 30, 2012 in Milan, Italy
Image by: Claudio Villa / Getty Images

Europe’s top club coaches gave their support on Thursday to the much-maligned Europa League.

“I believe the new Europa League is improving from year to year and you have to give it time,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters after an annual forum at UEFA headquarters featuring coaches from the biggest clubs.

“You could see last had Atletico Madrid in the final and you saw their standard in the Supercup,” he said, referring to the Spanish side’s 4-1 win over Champions League winners Chelsea last Friday.

“We had three European competitions in the past and...this is very interesting to have.”

“The Europa League was one that everyone thought was worthwhile, had a place, and was improving and we need to give the competition time to be built up,” added UEFA’s technical director Andy Roxburgh.

“We felt that European football needs the two competitions, not only due to the interest in Europe but also the impact it has on the domestic leagues as well.

“If you go back to the one competition, we don’t feel as if it would be a strong enough (competitive) environment.”

Roxburgh added, however, that UEFA could look at the format, which is often criticised because teams who are eliminated from the Champions League group stage parachute into the Europa League’s knockout stage.

“The general consensus is that it’s a big competition and I know UEFA are looking at the nature of the competition and the qualifying rounds.

“The group phase has only come in recently so there hasn’t been that much time to make that decision, but that is part of the ongoing discussions, this is next the cycle when UEFA will now these competitions in much more detail.”

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Coaches support ‘improving’ Europa League

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