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Williams expecting new top-four contenders in Premier League

Swansea City’s Ashley Williams thinks the Premier League could soon see new clubs competing for Champions League qualification.

Garry Monk’s side finished eighth in the top-flight last season, 14 points adrift of Manchester United in fourth position.

However, the Swansea captain believes a new club breaking into the top four and achieving Champions League qualification is on the horizon.

“It’s very difficult to get into that top group, especially the top four,” Williams told Sky Sports.

“But you’d like to think, for the good of the league, that a team can push in there. We had a good season last season, Southampton as well, so it’s getting a bit closer.

“You’ll always get one that will make a go of it, and I think it makes for a more entertaining and interesting league – it’s not just always the same teams.

“You see the way [Crystal] Palace and Leicester [City] have started, so it just shows that with a bit of confidence, and a little bit of momentum in the league, you can find yourself in a position you probably thought you wouldn’t be in.”

Swansea featured in the Europa League in 2013-14 but their Premier League form subsided as a result, culminating in a 12th-place finish.

Williams believes clubs will always prioritise the domestic league but would love to return to the continental stage.

“When we were in the Europa League we found it very hard – [then-coach] Michael Laudrup brought in a lot of players to try and strengthen our squad, and it was still difficult even then.

“We all want to get as high as we can get, we all want to get in the Europa League, but if you haven’t got the strength in your squad to compete on both fronts, I’m sure most teams would choose the Premier League over the Europa League for many reasons.

“For me, I’d love to get back in the Europa League because it was an enjoyable experience. We played some good games and it’s always nice to travel with your team.

“But it’s difficult, and maybe it is something that needs to be looked at, because most of the time you see teams that are in the Europa League struggle in the Premier League, and that shouldn’t be right.”

Sat 17 Oct, 2015
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