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Ask Real Football Man – Issue 3

Ask Real Football Man returns for its’ 3rd Edition. There’s only the one question this week but it’s still a good one, it was asked by Pavan Gopinath a contributor to the website http://www.thefootballmind.com/

And he has asked “Why do you think English Clubs are struggling to perform in the champions league since the last few years?

I think the reason they are struggling is down to a number of factors and it can’t be pinpointed to just one key issue. It’s also important to define “struggling” after having English representation in every final but one between 2005 and 2012 it’s fair to say that by comparison English clubs are struggling and here is to why.

Firstly I think you can point to the simple fact that Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are stronger than the Premier League sides at the moment and it’s no coincidence that they have won the last three editions of the Champions League. As they are sides that have tasted success then the world’s best players will naturally gravitate to those clubs and in turn further strengthen their position as the Elite Clubs of European Football.

Another factor has to be the strength of the Premier League. For the sides who are trying to compete on both a domestic and European front the fact there is very little respite from week to week domestically then has an adverse effect once they reach the knockout phase of the Champions League. Compare this to Bayern who can roll over their opposition without breaking a sweat and their preparations seem to be much easier and in turn gives them the advantage when trying to progress in Europe.

The pace and the energy of the Premier League puts much greater strain on players such as Sergio Aguero, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The fact there is no off week so to speak off compared to that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo means the La Liga Superstars can go into Champions League ties fresher than their Premier League counterparts.

Also over the last three years it’s fair to say that the most World Class coaches have been not working in the Premier League therefore the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique have more often that not been able to mastermind victories in Europe over English sides and not forgetting they have all gone onto win a Champions League in the past 5 years.  If you’ve got a World Class coach at the helm then it certainly isn’t going to do your chances too much harm.

With the TV Money in the Premier League set to increase and the playing field going to be leveled, it could make the competition an even more difficult prospect. That and maybe we might get to the point where the TV Money of the Premier League will dwarf that of the Champions League so much that even European competition could be a lesser priority much like the F.A. Cup has become.

Another factor they will have to consider is that if this downward spiral continues too much further than they may end up losing their 4th Premier League spot in the competition to Serie A so they can’t afford just to be happy with getting to the Round of 16 and being knocked out while repeating the process season after season as ultimately it will cost them a place at the top table so English sides need to find a way to conquer in Europe again.

The thing is in terms of winning the competition it’s all seemingly cyclical with each of the 4 major European Leagues having a prolonged spell of success in Europe over the past 25 years but as the big clubs seem to get bigger and bigger and the threat of a breakaway competition looms large English sides need to make sure that the grip of a Champions League title doesn’t slip away from them for good.

That concludes Issue 3 of “Ask Real Football Man” if anyone has any questions for next week then please leave them in the comments below or e-mail me at realfootballmanwordpress@gmail.com

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