Up to six Premier League clubs will think they can secure a spot in next season’s Champions League as the fallout from Manchester City’s UEFA ban continues.
Last season’s domestic treble winners will not feature in European competition for the next two seasons after the governing body came down hard on their alleged breaches.
It means whoever finishes fifth will take the fourth available spot in the Champions League with the race already hotting up.
Chelsea currently occupy fourth but Manchester United, Tottenham, Wolves, Sheffield United and Everton are all in the hunt leading pundit Graeme Souness to suggest any one of those six could be at Europe’s top table next term.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “Half a dozen clubs will think they can finish fifth.
“There’s only one position confirmed and that’s Liverpool. You want to play in the Champions League and compete against the best players.
“At this stage of the season everything is very much up to play for. Regardless of City, they [other clubs] will think they could have a great end to the season.”
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Leicester in third look to have secured their spot in the Champions League, despite it not being mathematically sealed, after an excellent campaign under Brendan Rodgers.
Some of the chasing pack are in form while others possess the quality to produce at the big moments despite being inconsistent.
But former Premier League boss Chris Hughton echoed Souness’ thoughts and said: “I don’t think they’ll [other clubs] consciously be thinking about it.
“Wolves, Sheffield United and Everton are on a fabulous run. They’ll be thinking about having a good end to the season, but for the chairman and owners of the club – it may cross their mind.”