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Martin O’Neill has criticised Uefa for failing to reduce the demands placed on clubs competing in the Europa League, with the Aston Villa manager claiming that the competition, which will replace the Uefa Cup from the start of next season, should have been streamlined to help restore its appeal.
O’Neill believes that the round-of-32 stage should have been removed when the format was reviewed last year. Instead Uefa has reduced the number of teams competing in each group from five maglie calcio a poco prezzo to four but increased the number of fixtures at that stage by introducing home and away games as well as persevering with two knockout rounds before the quarter-finals. The new structure means that Villa, who will be exempt from the qualifying round in July as a result of finishing in the top six, will still need to negotiate 17 fixtures, almost half a Premier League season, to win the trophy.
“There are too many games,” said O’Neill. “One thing they could have done was that whoever comes out of the group stage would be in the last 16, like the Champions League. The last 32 is a round too many. I accept there are more teams and that there are teams that drop out of the Champions League and go into it, but you can devise a system that those teams that come out of the group should be in the final 16. It should have been kjøpe Liverpool drakt redesigned with that in mind because you can see the problems teams in the Champions League have had. Manchester United, going all guns blazing for every single competition, go to a semi-final of an FA Cup and play a weakened side. United can possibly get away with that but there’s fixture congestion at the most important time of the season. And that’s the Champions League. So you can imagine what it’s like with the extra Uefa Cup games.”