Tottenham Hotspur should not dismiss the Europa League too early if the north London club hope to gain European recognition.
Yes, the Europa League is considered a nuisance by the managers, players and fans who compete in Europe's second club competition however, there was a time not too long ago when teams saw winning the UEFA Cup as a great achievement.
One of Liverpool's greatest ever seasons was the 2000/1 campaign when they won firstly, the League Cup, then the F.A. Cup and finally the UEFA Cup to make a treble of their own.
Following that 5-4 win against Alaves, the Reds began their journey to becoming Europe's best club once again.
If Spurs hope to raise their profile in Europe, then perhaps making more of an effort to win the Europa League would do more for the club than they currently anticipate.
After all, trophies are the best way of raising the profile.
Andre Villas Boas's side failed to make it past Swiss team Basel last season after producing consecutive 2-2 draws against them before being eliminated. However, Spurs played a slightly weakened side in both games and seemed more intent on finishing fourth, which they failed to do.
Not only was this a mistake, but they also had the chance to prove a point to London rivals Chelsea who were also fighting for the competition. The Blues faced Spurs' opponents in the semi-final, dispatching them easily, under a manager who knew the importance of trophies, albeit to himself.
In the end Chelsea went all the way to win it, as well as drawing with Spurs to stay above them in the league, and then winning their last few matches to finish above both Spurs and Arsenal.
Why did AVB, a manager who helped forge a career partly by winning the tournament with Porto, not see the benefits in giving more priority to his side's only chance for a trophy?
There is a clear obsession becoming ever-present at White Hart Lane. The desire to finish in the Champions League positions seems to have taken over the club. The sale of Gareth Bale has allowed for a huge summer spending spree in an attempt to move up a level and overtake Arsenal.
Of course, Sunday's derby did nothing to help the Tottenham cause, but AVB needs time to assemble his best eleven after over £90m worth of new recruits joined in the transfer window.
Tottenham are odds-on favourites to lift the trophy this season but with the Thursday night fixtures set to come thick-and-fast, will AVB give the competition enough thought and attention?
Most Spurs fans would say that finishing fourth is better than winning the Europa League. It seems that this is the way football is moving in England. A trophy is less important than a league position because the finances involved in competing in Europe's elite competition, plus the recognition that comes with it, is evidently more important to owners and players than the joy of winning a cup.
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