The Europa League isn’t exactly the first-choice destination for Europe’s biggest clubs.
While it would be naive to claim that UEFA’s secondary trophy is completely void of prestige, many teams are starting to see the competition as a mere vehicle for Champions League qualification.
British teams in Europe
However, when you’re in it, you’re in it to win it and there are no shortage of British teams competing to get their hands on European silverware this season.
Celtic might have been jettisoned from the competition in the group stages, but Rangers are still flying the flag for Scotland and they’re joined by three teams south of the border.
Arsenal and Leicester City are ticking along nicely with relatively few hiccups before the knockout rounds, but things haven’t been so plain-sailing for Tottenham Hotspur.
Tottenham’s Europa League journey
Well, we don’t mean that things are so bad that they won’t reach the round of 32, but some of Spurs’ less aesthetic results seem to have been prompting Mourinho to take his anger out on Instagram.
‘The Special One’ was less than impressed with his team’s 1-0 defeat at Royal Antwerp, while this week’s 3-3 draw at LASK also saw him posting passive-aggressive captions on social media.
Besides, the disappointing results have been incongruous with their strong start in the Premier League and lest we forget that the north London club are well versed in Europa League football.
In fact, the Lilywhites are so used to Thursday night football that they are one of the most successful clubs in the competition’s history despite not winning the trophy in approaching four decades.
All-time Europa League table
That’s because, on the back of another round of Europa League games, we decided to take a cheeky peak at the competition’s all-time table, which includes its time as the ‘UEFA Cup’.
Transfermarkt has called upon all its data to rank clubs who have appeared in the competition as if it was a league table: three points for a win, one point for a draw and nothing for defeat.
Rather astonishingly, Tottenham make their way onto the podium with a third-place finish and to see the only two clubs to beat them, as well as the entire top 60, down below:
Tottenham make the podium
The Europa League doesn’t seem so second-rate when you see some of those club names, does it?
Fair play to Inter Milan, who have won the competition’s big sister twice, for claiming the gold medal on this occasion, while Sporting Lisbon are somewhat of a surprising force in second place.
The closest another Premier League team comes to challenging Tottenham’s total of 280 points is Liverpool, who famously won the UEFA Cup as part of their 2001 cup treble.
Newcastle United then sneak their way into the top 50, while Celtic, Rangers and Arsenal join European juggernauts that you wouldn’t expect such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
So, say what you like about the Europa League, but the all-time table goes to show that some of Europe’s biggest clubs have competed to lift its trophy time and time again.