By Joe Brewin
Arsène Wenger believes the winners of the Champions League have the right to defend their trophy regardless of their league position.
Chelsea currently occupy sixth place in the Premier League - a position which would not usually see them qualify for the tournament - but would be entitled to defend the trophy should they win Europe’s biggest prize.
That would effectively make fourth place a Europa League position, but Wenger says clubs must respect the qualification rules regardless of the repercussions.
“It is right the Champions League winners have the right to defend the trophy,” said the Frenchman. “That it takes the fourth place is unfortunate. Ideally you would like to combine the two.
“The team who finish fourth have fought the whole season and cannot get into the Champions League. But I find it right that the winners have the right to defend the trophy.
“At the moment, a team who has won the Champions League has always finished in the top four of their league - apart from Liverpool one year maybe. We would not be happy but they are the rules and we have to accept them. We cannot change the rules just because it is us.
“We have to cope with situation now and to win our games, it is as simple as that - not to start to calculate. But everybody said it would be a Spanish final in the Champions League and it could be an English-German final.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source