Arsene Wenger says featuring in the Champions League play-off round can result in teams “paying the price” domestically.
The Gunners are currently third in the table and would definitely avoid a qualifier this summer if they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Having experienced the play-offs seven times in the last nine seasons, Wenger is well aware of the effect they can have.
"We have had to deal with it for a few years now but if we can get straight into the competition it would be better"
“Every day in practice you have to focus. You are already thinking about that day,” Wenger said. “Sometimes we have played in the championship, then we have played the qualifier for the Champions League and then played in the championship again.
“Sometimes you qualify at Udinese and three days later have to go to Old Trafford with exactly the same focus. But you have more chance to lose the game than to win it so sometimes you pay the price in the Premier League.
“[The tension] is part of it. At the end of the day, the team who finishes fifth would love to have that tension, so we cannot complain. We have had to deal with that for a few years now but if we can get straight into the competition it would be better.
“At the moment we are focused on finishing as high as we can and finishing the season well. After that we will deal with the consequences. We know we are in the top four. We know we can do better, so let’s go for it.”
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