Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew claims changes must be made on one side or the other if English teams are to start performing at their best in Europe.
With the Eagles set to play Tottenham this weekend on Sunday, Pardew believes it’s possible Spurs will be affected by their Thursday-to-Sunday turnaround, and that either the Premier League or the Europa League need to accommodate teams better if they wish to produce higher quality performances in either competition.
“The intensity of Premier League games is higher than other leagues and to recover in that period of time is tough,” Pardew said in his pre-match press conference. “Until eventually some sense can prevail and we play on a Monday night when we’ve played in the Europa League on Thursday then all the teams in that competition will suffer.”
Tottenham fell down early 1-0 to Azerbaijani club Qarabag before coming back for a 3-1 win. A few reserve players started the match, but many first-team regulars were required for the comeback, including goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Erik Lamela, Deli Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Heung and even Harry Kane who came into the game as a substitute and played 22 minutes.
“When you look at the strength of the Premier League, you have to say the Europa League is a competition that really and truly we should be dominating,” Pardew said. “I think some of the teams Premier League clubs put out are not that strong because they are trying to protect themselves for Sunday. And you have to understand that.”
A number of Premier League teams have seen their league form suffer due to European play. Everton struggled mightily in Premier League play last season while progressing into the Europa League’s Round of 16. Newcastle in 2012/13 – under Alan Pardew – dropped 11 league places from the previous season while trying to balance a run to the tournament’s quarterfinals. Fulham received a berth in the Europa League via the fair play slot in 2012 which resulted in poor form throughout the first half of the season.
“I have been involved in the Europa League and Tottenham are not the first club to be affected by that. Playing Thursday and Sunday is tough and the energy levels of some of their players will not be at full capacity, they can’t be. They’ll have their fingers crossed they can produce a Premier league performance after a tough Thursday night. But we will be fresh so that could be an advantage [for us].”
From the Champions League to the Europa League, English teams have struggled mightily so far this season in European play. Chelsea was the only Premier League team to win its opening Champions League group stage match, while Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United all lost. Liverpool drew with Bordeaux in the Europa League, while Spurs required its comeback to beat Qarabag.