OK it’s time to take a stand. In comments I’ve tried to have it both ways and say “I want us to win everything.” Of course I do. So do we all. But it’s time to stop being diplomatic and start being realistic.
This team appears on the brink of exhaustion (see the latest Betis game for an example). We are the only team left in Europa who is still meaningfully competing in their domestic league. And in that domestic league we have a very real shot (though still difficult) of catching Bilbao for the coveted fourth and final Champions League position.
So, if you had to choose, would you rather forget about 4th place and do everything possible to win the Europa? Hardware is the reason they take to the pitch. It is the symbol of a team’s glory and proof of its quality. This team’s two Europa championships were the greatest moments in team history, how could we pass up an opportunity to add a historic third?
Or would you rather fall out of Europa but take fourth place. Bring on Champions League next year. Even just entering into the group phase of the CL guarantees as much money as winning Europa. Furthermore, it may be our only chance to retain our fearless captain Rakitic and to be able to recruit, retain, and afford the other players we need for this team to continue it’s exceptional forward progress this season.