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Azpilicueta: Europa League is not Chelsea's only route to the Champions League

14:40 GMT 18/03/2019
Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea 2018-19
The Spanish defender insists the Blues can still finish in the Premier League's top four, despite a disappointing defeat at Everton

The Europa League is not Chelsea's only route to Champions League qualification, according to Cesar Azpilicueta.

Maurizio Sarri's side missed the chance to go level on points with Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, falling to a 2-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park .

The Blues are sixth in the standings with only eight games of the 2018-19 campaign remaining, one point behind Manchester United and three behind the Gunners.

A Europa League triumph in May would ultimately make up for their domestic failings and ensure their progress to the Champions League next season, but Azpilicueta has urged his team-mates not to put all their eggs in one basket.

"We missed a chance to get points and every time you don't get the three points you put yourself in a more difficult position," he told reporters.

"There is still a lot of games to play and we are going to fight because we cannot miss Champions League qualification.

"I don't see just the Europa League as the only way of being in the Champions League, because Chelsea's place is not to be sixth in the Premier League so I cannot accept this."

Chelsea have drawn Slavia Prague in the last eight of the Europa League and they have been installed as favourites to win the crown come May .

In the Premier League, Sarri's men have away fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United to negotiate in the coming months, but Azpilicueta still feels that they are in control of their own destiny.

"There is a way of going into the Champions League, it is a trophy, and we will play until the end but we are not in a position in the league where you can say we are not going to reach the Champions League spots," he added.

"If we had won the (last) two games we would be third going into the international break and we could have said we were already in the Champions League.

"Obviously with five more points, we could have been much better."

After the international break, Chelsea will resume their league campaign with a trip to Cardiff City on March 31, before hosting West Ham at Stamford Bridge eight days later.