Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas has criticized UEFA’s rules, which have allowed his former club Chelsea to qualify for the Europa League Round of 32 after failing to advance to the Champions League Round of 16.
The Blues endured a disappointing group stage in the defense of their Champions League crown and became the first holders to become eliminated ahead of the knock-out rounds on Wednesday.
Finishing in third place in their group allowed them, along with seven others in similar positions following the Champions League group stage, to join the 24 standout teams in the Europa League.
AVB’s Spurs had to grind it out to proceed to the Round of 32 in the Europa League after finishing second in their group and they were joined by Premier League rivals Liverpool and Newcastle United.
Chelsea’s addition means that the English top flight has four representatives in the competition’s knock-out stages and Villas-Boas firmly believes that their inclusion is unjust.
“I think it’s extremely unfair. It would be much fairer if the clubs came in to the Europa League when they are knocked out of the last 16 of the Champions League,” Villas-Boas told Sky Sports following his side’s 3-1 win over Panathinaikos last night.
The young manager added: “You can’t give a bonus to teams who have failed, and in the situation as it stands, teams fail in the Champions League and are promoted to the Europa League, which, in my opinion, is a massive bonus.”
Some may feel AVB’s opinion also stems from some bitterness against his former employers. His three-year contract at Stamford was terminated prematurely terminated by owner Roman Abramovich last season only eight months into his hiring.
Furthermore, when he arrived at Tottenham this summer, there was still plenty of frustration from failing to qualify for the Champions League despite a top-four finish courtesy of Chelsea’s win in the competition’s final in May.
But the former FC Porto manager insists that he holds no bitterness against Chelsea and aside from his long-standing view on the situation, he respects the Blues as serious contenders for the trophy.
“I’ve not made this up today. I have said this in UEFA meetings before. It’s up to them to decide but I think it’s not fair. Sometimes it’s destiny. Hopefully if we go through we can meet each other.
“They have a team that can win the trophy, so they will be up to the late stages of the competition. We hope to do so. If we cross it is going to be two magnificent games for sure,” the 35-year old concluded with excitement.