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Fear of qualifying for the Europa League

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Fear of qualifying for the Europa League is gripping Premier League clubs.  It's the one contest nobody wants to win.

Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs believes that the experiences of Manchester United and Liverpool in recent years prove it is more of a hindrance than a help.   'You have the opportunity to stay closer to the top four if you only have to focus on the Barclays Premier League and the cup,' he said.

West Ham could qualify through the Fair Play League.   Sam Allardyce commented, 'I will not put our Premier League status at risk at any stage of the season.   We need Premier League football going into that new arena'  [the Olympic Stadium].

The financial rewards for winning it are not vast, around £11 million for the eventrual champions.   This is a drop in the ocean for a Premier League team.

It stretches from the end of July all the way to May, as many as 19 games.   Many of the away fixtures are in obscure, far flung countries whose names end in 'stan'.     Apart from the extensive travel, there is increased workload and cumulative fatigue.    It is felt that a draining Thursday-Sunday schedule can affect a Premier League team's form/