The Stamford Bridge club earned the dishonour of being the first defending champions to be knocked out of the first round of this year’s Champions League competition and dropped down to the Europa League thereafter. Since then they’ve knocked both Sparta Prague and Steaua Bucharest out and are leading Rubin Kazan 3-1 in the quarter-final.
Hopefully the Blues will be able to salvage the situation and hide the shame of going out of the Champions League so soon by winning the Europa League, a tournament in which they are now they favourites. But Mikel wants to make sure they don’t end up there again.
The 25-year-old said:
“What do they say [about the Europa League]? Thursday nights, Channel 5?
“Hopefully, next season we are not going to be in it and we are going to be prime time.”
I’m hoping that the squad has learned from their mistakes and will be keen to put that right by putting a sufficient amount of effort in to make sure that they not only earn their way back into the top four, but make sure they give a good account of themselves once that they are there. Of course, the club is in a state of flux and a new system is being built with a new-look squad, so it’s natural that there will be teething problems and it certainly isn’t any reason to give up on the first hurdle.
However, despite the Europa League being at the bottom of our agenda, it’s still a competition in which we can pick up some silverware and should be taken seriously by any XI that walks out onto the field during it. So I hope the difficulty in motivation doesn’t turn into a lack of effort in general.