Chelsea fans gutted as Europe’s most efficient team can’t do them a huge favour for next season

Against all expectations, Manchester United have just won the FA Cup against Manchester City.

That brings the Red Devils a Europa League spot, and bumps Chelsea into the Europa Conference League.

Typical! The one game a year when you don’t mind City winning and it’s one of the few they don’t manage to win. How frustrating for Chelsea fans who thought they’d nicked a spot in the second tier of European football with their winning run to end the season.

Instead they now face qualifiers against teams some of the lowest ranked nations in UEFA.

Fans all over social media are pointing out the hilariously budget sides we could be lining up against in August, from Gibraltar to Georgia.

Europa Conference League trophy.

The upsides and downsides of mid-tier European football

In the end it’s not a HUGE difference, but we can’t pretend we’re not gutted. Once you get to the sharp end of the Europa League it’s actually a very fun and interesting competition – just look at this year. Both Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen are really top sides, and might actually be favoured in a one off game against Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.

Still, on the bright side the competition still has the same benefits as the Europa League in terms of bringing us lots of new minutes with which to use our big squad and all those young talents we’re bringing in. We can also be the first team to win every UEFA trophy!

There’s also the same downsides – those midweek games and all that travel add up to a lot of fatigue on the squad and diminished training times. But this season just gone, without any European football, we didn’t really see the clear benefits we expected from all that extra training. Perhaps that’s Mauricio Pochettino’s fault, or perhaps the whole thing is a bit of a myth.

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