Arsenal legend Robert Pires has urged his former club to follow in the footsteps of Manchester United by focussing on the Europa League.
Arsene Wenger has played relatively weakened sides in Europe this season, but which his side currently sitting in sixth position, eight points behind the fourth an final Champions League qualifying spot.
Now, former Arsenal star Pires believes the Gunners should follow the lead of Manchester United who ultimately prioritised gaining glory in the Europa League, which is of course offers an alternative way into the Champions League.
“The Europa League has to be Arsenal’s priority now, already,” Pires said
“The objective has to be to do what Manchester United did last season – they are a good example.
“United won the Europa League and went straight into the Champions League – for Arsenal it is very important to get this state of mind.
“It’s a trophy, a good trophy, so it’s very important. And this season it is the last opportunity Arsenal have of making the Champions League.
“Unfortunately, but if you see the table it’s very difficult for Arsenal to reach the top four.
“I want to see Arsenal playing again in the Champions League. But it is very difficult with Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea all above them”.
The Frenchman insisted that his former side are one of the favourites to win the tournament, along with Spanish side Atletico Madrid, who were one of the biggest sides to make the unexpected drop from the Champions League into the second tier of European football.
Pires added: “Atletico and Arsenal are the favourites, for me this is the final in Lyon.
“They both have a lot of experience, especially in the Champions League.
“They just need to avoid each other and Celtic if they want to face each other in the final.
“I love Celtic. It is not easy for any team, especially in Celtic Park. The atmosphere is amazing.
“When you are a player, inside, playing against Celtic, it is a great atmosphere. It is still very close to the pitch, maybe only Liverpool has a similar atmosphere.
“That’s why it is very difficult to win in Celtic Park.”