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Europa League group stage draw: Napoli in Group I

Napoli are unlikely to give much thought to Europa League this season, but Sparta Prague, Young Boys and Slovan Bratislava should give the youngsters and reserves enough of a challenge.

Giuseppe Bellini

Napoli failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages when they lost 3-1 to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night. That means, of course, that they've been dumped into the pot for Europa League, that silly little irritant that no one really cares about.

Yes, yes, we should care to increase Italy's Uefa coefficient, should care to land some more money for the club. But after such an undignified failure in the Champions League, no one is excited about playing for second-best. It's a chase for the scudetto or nothing, at this point.

But there's a rational argument to be made for using the group stages as a training ground for younger players and B-Team. Particularly when taking a look at the sides Napoli are set to play. There's no one too tough, but there's no one so easy that it wouldn't give youngsters or reserves a bit of a challenge. The best part? No long trips that will wear out the team, which we saw so much of last season.

Europa League Group I

Napoli (Italy)

Sparta Prague (Czech Republic)

Young Boys (Switzerland)

Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia)