Arsenal first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech has insisted he respects the UEFA Europa League, with the Gunners potentially set to feature in the competition for the first time since the 1999/2000 season, where they also reached the final.
Arsene Wenger’s side need a victory as well as results elsewhere to go their way if they’re to qualify for the UEFA Champions League this weekend. It’s unlikely that either Manchester City lose heavily at Watford or Liverpool will drop points at home to already-relegated Middlesbrough, but it’s not entirely impossible.
Cech won the UEFA Europa League with Chelsea during an unpredictable 2012/13 campaign and dismissed claims that it’d be a disadvantage going forward. As quoted by Sky Sports he said, “A European trophy is a European trophy.”
“I have to say you want to have the Champions League one rather than the Europa League one but you can see more and more, big teams are treating the Europa League with respect because it is a European trophy. Now you can qualify for the Champions League too. I have to say it is a fantastic memory for myself to look at the medal.”
Cech and his fellow Chelsea team-mates dropped down into the competition at the round-of-32 stage after finishing third in their Champions League group. Having played all 810 minutes, they battled hard for a 2-1 win over Benfica at the Amsterdam ArenA – and Cech naturally has fond memories of the tournament.
“I only played in it once and was fortunate in one go to have won it. But obviously I would rather be in the Champions League, that’s for sure. Let’s see what will happen. We have a difficult game [Everton], let’s not forget this first.”
Cech was honest and assertive when questioned saying, “We will concentrate on our game and there is only one thing we can do which is to win and then hope the other results will go our way, which if they don’t, they don’t. But we need to make sure we win our game. I never care about the other results so I am not going to start now.“