I know, we are all annoyed. We are out of the Champions league at the first hurdle. It sucks. But I have been internalizing the pros and cons of this, within our current state, and albeit financially we get a kick to the downstairs, I think there are a lot of positives from playing in a slightly lower european competition.
- The nucleus of the squad - For the last 10 or so years, we have had the same spine of the team. Cech, Terry, Lampard, Drogba. Now three of the four are still here, and two don't seem to be being around much longer. I am a firm believer that every great team has a tough spine. We have so far not got that anymore. But by playing slightly lower european football, along with the cup competitions and the league, it gives us opportunities to test different combinations and find players who stand up and be counted. I would predict players like Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel and Oscar in particular are players who need to establish themselves a little more on the team, and this offers their chance.
- Rotation - We either love it or hate it. My criticism of Di Matteo in charge was his lack of it. We have one of the largest squads, but i think we only fielded only nineteen players whilst he was in charge. It may sound crass, but we have to follow a manchester united type model. I'll admit it. I'm not afraid to. Van Persie as good as he is, does not always play. Same with Hernandez, Valencia and co. Players like Moses, Marin, Romeu, Bertrand, Cahill, Sturridge, Ferreria and Piazon should all be given a chance against weaker opponents. I'm not saying put them all at once, we would be beaten. But putting them with more experienced players will help them in the long run, and allow players like Mata, Hazard, Torres, Mikel and Oscar to be given the occasional breather. We have one of the best squads out at the moment, we need to use it all.
- The calibre isn't actually bad - Inter, Napoli, Ajax, Zenit
and Liverpoolare very tidy teams. This rubbish about Europa league being terrible is a myth for me, any tournament is tough to win if you have to beat teams like these.
- A trophy is a trophy - It's another european seal of approval for us. Look at City for example.
- We can make more history - Champions league winners then Europa league winners, why not?