Arsenal’s Champions League hopes rest on Europa League, says Robert Pires

Arsenal will only qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, says the club’s former player Robert Pires.

Arsene Wenger’s side will face Manchester City on Sunday in the EFL Cup final, but have fallen behind in the race for the Premier League’s top four and trail fifth-placed Tottenham by seven points.

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Pires, part of Arsenal’s side that lost in the 2006 Champions League final, believes it is time for the club to turn their attention away from the Premier League ahead of the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Ostersunds.

“The Europa League has to be Arsenal’s priority now, already,” Pires told The Sun.

“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.

Wenger admitted a top four finish would be much tougher after losing 1-0 to Tottenham earlier this month

“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.”