Infantino - Prem still strong

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino believes English football is still strong despite having no representatives remaining in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League.

Last Updated: 14/03/13 at 22:21 Post Comment

Arsenal exited the tournament at the last 16 stage to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night to end Premier League interest in this year's competition.

Manchester United had crashed out to Real Madrid the week before, while holders Chelsea and Manchester City failed to make it past the group phase.

This year marks the first time since 1996 that no English team will compete in the quarter-finals of the competition.

But Infantino believes Premier League teams will bounce straight back next season.

He told Sky Sports: "It goes in waves. I am not sure it's a wake-up call.

"Last year Chelsea won the Champions League so it cannot be that from being the champions of Europe, English teams have suddenly become the weakest football in Europe.

"I think English football is still extremely strong football, the Premier League is still one of the top leagues in Europe and this will not change. Next year English teams will be back and competing to the win the big trophy of European champions."

Former Arsenal and Manchester City man Patrick Vieira, currently City's football development executive, agrees the absence of English clubs will be shortlived.

"I believe it is only a one-off and I'm sure next year a team like ourselves, United, Chelsea and Arsenal, whoever qualifies for the Champions League, will be there to win it," he said.

"I think when you look at the Premier League it is one of the best in Europe, and of course it is disappointing not having an English team in the quarter-finals, but when you look at the way United lost their game, I think the referee had a big part to play in that game.

"It is the first time since 1996 but it should not draw away from the things that the teams in the Premier League have been doing in the last few years.

"That's the way it is. We have to think about the way we can improve the quality of the teams to challenge Madrid or Barcelona or Bayern Munich."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Footer 365

Diego Costa gets two assists Chelsea's 3-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem

Diego Costa grabbed two assists as Chelsea beat Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 on Wednesday

Women's football: Natasha Dowie says Fara Williams can earn 200 caps

Fara Williams has enough ability to earn 200 caps for England, according to Liverpool Ladies team-mate Natasha Dowie

Women's football: Dunia Susi and Rachel Brown-Finnis out of England's game with Sweden

England Women’s boss Mark Sampson has been hit by two withdrawals from his squad ahead of Sunday's game against Sweden

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property