(Reuters) - Arsenal must respect the Europa League next season and take the tournament seriously if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, goalkeeper Peter Cech has said.
Arsenal’s 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland on Tuesday moved them within a point of fourth-placed Liverpool and gave the London side an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League if results go their way on the final day of the season.
English clubs have become more prominent in the Europa League in recent years with Chelsea winning the competition in 2013, Liverpool finishing runner-up last year and Manchester United set to play the final next week.
“A European trophy is a European trophy,” Cech told British media.
”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.
“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.”
Arsenal will finish in the top four if they beat Everton on Sunday provided Liverpool lose or draw against relegated Middlesbrough.
“We have a difficult game, let’s not forget this first,” Cech added.
”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.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly