Chelsea travel to Sparta Prague in the first-leg of their last 32 Europa League tie on Thursday evening and we have picked out five reasons why the Blues simply have to go all the way in this tournament.
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The Chelsea fans may not be too enthusiastic about the Europa League, but believe it or not, there are some advantages to winning a major European competition. Here are five of them.
1) To make up for Champions League failure
Considering they were the holders, Chelsea had a very poor Champions League campaign this season. In fact, scrap that, the fact that they were holders was irrelevant. It was a poor showing by anyone’s standards.
In their group, the Blues lost twice on the road and dropped points at home to Juventus. The Europa League is their chance to prove that this current team can shine in Europe.
2) To attract quality players in the summer
Champions League football is by no means guaranteed for Chelsea next season with their Premier League form inconsistent at the moment.
Therefore, victory in the Europa League could help them attract top talent in the summer – no matter what happens domestically.
Their Champions League win helped them convince Eden Hazard to sign and who knows who could be swayed by a second European trophy in as many years?
3) To help the fans believe in Roman
Chelsea fans have definitely lost a bit of faith in Roman Abramovich recently, especially with the way he treated club legend Roberto Di Matteo.
However, a Europa League win would prove to them that, even if he might not always go about things in a conventional way, he continues to deliver silverware to the Stamford Bridge club.
4) To secure the services of Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard’s future is up in the air at the moment with no contract in place for the midfielder beyond the summer.
If he plays a significant part in winning the Europa League though, maybe Abramovich will make a u-turn and offer him a new deal.
How could they turn their back on a man that has given so much to the club, including yet another major trophy?
5) To avoid the same mistakes
Even though this season could still be successful, it seems fair to say that Chelsea didn’t respond too well to being Champions of Europe. They will admit that they went about things in the wrong way.
Europa League glory would give them a chance to learn from these mistakes and use winning a major European trophy in a more positive way.
Chelsea are currently the 6/1 favourites with Betfred to win the Europa League.