LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 21 – Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger still believes their best route to a Champions League return lies in qualifying via the Premier League this season.
The Gunners finished outside the top-four last term for the first time under Wenger’s stewardship when they came in fifth, which meant Europa League football for 2017/18.
Wenger’s side have reached the last-32 of Europe’s second-tier club competition, where they face Ostersunds in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday having won 3-0 in the first leg.
But the Frenchman won’t be following the same path as Manchester United, who won the Europa League in 2017 to secure a spot in the Champions League, after finishing sixth in England’s top flight.
The north Londoners are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with 11 games to go, but Wenger hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet.
“He [Jose Mourinho] did that much later in the season, when they were in the semi-final, so we are not as far as that, we have to focus on the Premier League,” the 68-year-old said.
“It [the Europa League] is one of the priorities we have but there’s a long way to go. We have to get through tomorrow and then see who we get if we get through.
“We will focus to do well but ideally we want to come back to the Champions League through the Premier League.”