The Europa League has long been maligned in England as an unwelcome distraction from domestic commitments. Indeed, last season, Manchester United fans breathed a sigh of relief when David Moyes ill-fated tenure saw them fall out of all European places to 7th in the Premier League. Similarly previous season Chelsea's 2013 triumph was decidedly anti-climactic when played in the shadow of the previous year's Champions League success.

Even following the UEFA Cup's 2009 reformatting, the English have shown contempt for Europe's secondary competition, with perhaps the exception of Middleborough and Fulham in 2006 and 2010 respectively.

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There is a stigma that remains associated with playing unknown European lightweights FC Sheriff Tiraspol on a Thursday evening; Jon Obi Mikel highlighted this attitude to comical effect claiming "I don't even know the Europa League song" in contrast to the hallowed Champions League theme.

When Manchester United were dispatched comfortably by then 7th in La Liga Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League last-16, Sir Alex Ferguson churlishly tipped them for the title, excusing his team's blatant lack of motivation in the match. Mauricio Pochettino alluded to the competitions negative effect on his team's performance in the Capital One Cup Final defeat against Chelsea. Even with the winner receiving Champions League qualification and Tottenham chasing fourth place, the competition took lower priority and they rested players on the way to a defeat.

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Brendan Rodgers flew a weakened side to Turkey, eventually suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Besiktas.

Yet why does the disinterest? The atmosphere at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul during that last 32 game was frenzied - in contrast Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium was only half-filled for their 2013 group stage match vs. Maribor. The last 16 has seen Fiorentina drawn against Roma, Wolfsburg play Internazionale and Villarreal face Sevilla. Recent winners have included Chelsea, Porto and Atletico Madrid. The competition is where Atletico truly announced themselves on the European stage prior to a La Liga triumph last year, where Radamel Falcao forged his considerable reputation. But it is still treated as a hindrance to English team's seasons - of the twelve English teams who have competed in the Europa League group stage, eight have not qualified for Europe that same season. Yet Fiorentina, whilst in Florence on the Thursday night, played again on the Sunday beating Internazionale 1-0 at the San Siro; manager Vincenzo Montella found no cause for complaint. It appears a uniquely British phenomenon to become so hamstrung by the Europa League.

Tonight Roberto Martinez is expected to play a full-strength Everton side against Dynamo Kyiv, despite the still looming threat of relegation but this represents a Premier League anomaly. On this season's evidence England remains far behind their European counterparts, perhaps the Europa League isn't so bad after all... #Football