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Villarreal’s Champions League chase officially ended after defeat to Rayo Vallecano

The Yellows will play Europa League football next season

Valencia CF v Villarreal CF - LaLiga Santander
It has still been a solid season
Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Villarreal’s Champions League chase is officially over with a game to spare followind defeat to Rayo Vallecano.

The Yellows were hoping to keep the pressure on Real Sociedad until the final game of the season, but they have fallen short following defeat in Vallecas.

Quique Setién’s men had been in sizzling form, but a poor start to the second half cost them in Vallecas, with Raul de Tomas and Isi Palazon scoring the two key goals, while Giovani Lo Celso did go on to pull one back late on.

It was a disappointing second-half performance littered with defensive errors, and the Yellows paid the price, with their Champions League chase officially ending, despite Real Sociedad losing to Atletico Madrid.

Villarreal are already assured of fifth place and will enter next season’s Europa League without any sort of qualification process.

It feels a shame to not get Champions League football based on Villarreal’s form in the second half of this season, but looking at the context, it has been a fine effort to come so close on the back of an enforced managerial change relatively early in the season.

There were understandably growing pains under Setién, while La Real didn’t have to deal with that sort of adversity this season.

Providing Setién is kept around, Villarreal have plenty to be optimistic about heading into next seaosn, and behind Liverpool, they will likely be one of the favourites for the Europa League.

For now, the Yellows can concentrate on going out with a bang in their last game of the season, at home to Atletico Madrid on Sunday.