Chelsea forward Demba Ba has said he would rather win either the FA Cup or Europa League than finish fourth and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Chelsea are still battling on three fronts this season. In the coming weeks they have a Europa League quarter final tie against Rubin Kazan, an FA Cup semi final against Man City and a battle with London rivals Spurs and Arsenal for the two remaining Champions League places.
Interim boss Rafa Benitez has prioritised finishing in the top four of the Premier League. It would be a major blow to a club of Chelsea’s size to not be competing in the Champions League next season.
With the new Financial Fair Play laws taking hold, clubs cannot offer players enormous salaries to compensate not being in the best competitions, the best players will want to be at a club in the Champions League.
Benitez has been keeping his strongest side available for the Premier League matches in an effort to secure a top four spot, although his side were beaten by Southampton at the weekend.
‘No one remembers that you finished in the top four’
Two days later they beat Man Utd in an FA Cup quarter final replay with Ba scoring a spectacular winning goal. The Blues face a major fixture pile up as the season draws to its end and Benitez will have to utilise his squad fully to remain in all competitions.
Ba is cup tied for the Europa League so Benitez will use Fernando Torres in that tournament, freeing Ba for the Premier League and FA Cup matches.
The Senegalese hitman has never won a trophy in his career, or played Champions League football.
Speaking to the Times he said: ““The top four is very important, but we want a trophy, we’re looking very good in two competitions, the Europa League and the FA Cup. We’re going to do everything to win them both. When you retire, no one remembers that you finished in the top four. They remember you won a trophy.”