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Frank Lampard has warned Arsenal that winning the Europa League will be their only route back into the Champions League.
The Gunners have struggled to find consistency in the Premier League this season despite the disappointment of a fifth-placed finish in the table last term.
Arsenal have learned their lessons from the 2016-17 campaign as defensive issues continue to undermine their exciting performances up front.
Arsene Wenger’s side lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby last weekend after England international Harry Kane netted a winner at Wembley.
The Gunners are in sixth spot in the Premier League table and eight points adrift of Chelsea FC with 11 games to go in the top-flight campaign.
Former Chelsea FC midfielder Lampard doesn’t expect Arsenal to finish in the top four, rendering the Europa League a vital competition for the Gunners.
“It’s the only route [back into the Champions League] for them looking at it now,” Lampard told BT Sport.
Arsenal signed Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal that saw South American complete a switch to Manchester United in the January transfer window.
The Gunners spent a club record £56m fee on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on transfer deadline day to bolster their attacking options.
The north London side have lost two of their last three Premier League games to lose ground on the top four.