England are reportedly in danger of losing a Champions League qualification spot to Italy if Premier League teams continue to underperform in European competitions.
Although the Premier League is one of the most popular and the richest football league in the world, English clubs have not been able to do well in the Champions League for the last few seasons.
This season the four Premier League side's performances in the Champions League has been especially poor as none of them look like they are going to progress to even the quarter-final of the competition.
While Liverpool failed to qualify from the group stages of the competition this season, Chelsea were eliminated from the round of 16 after losing to Paris Saint-Germain on away goals.
Manchester City and Arsenal's changes of progressing to the quarter-final of the Champions League is also very minimal due to them having suffered home defeats in the first leg of the round of 16 against Barcelona and AS Monaco respectively.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who was able to guide his side till the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, feels that all the English clubs that qualify for European competitions need to perform well collectively rather than just relying on one club to do well season after season.
"I analyse that we need points," the Portuguese told the Express.. "We want to keep year after year the same number of teams in the Champions League and Europa League."
"We don't want to lose positions in the rankings to other countries. When you don't perform as a country and rely almost on the same club season after season to try and reach the latter stages of the competition, it's not good."
The UEFA coefficient, which is used to measure the relative strength of its member associations, uses a complex algorithm to calculate which countries are given how many berths for the Champions League and the Europa League.
Currently Spain, England and Germany have the highest coefficient in Europe and due to this reason all these three countries are all given four spots in the Champions League.
While La Liga and Bundesliga clubs have managed to do well in the Champions League this season, Premier League clubs have struggled. And due to this reason, England's overall co-efficient will be affected.
Serie A sides have also not been able to do that well in the Champions League this season, with Juventus being the only Italian club that has the possibility of reaching the quarter-finals.
However, Serie A sides have done well in the Europa League this season as there are currently five Serie A clubs – Torino, Napoli, Inter Milan, Fiorentina and Roma - in the last 16 of the competition.
England, on the other hand, have only one club, Everton, that has managed to progress to the round of 16 of the Europa League.
It is predicted that Italy will overtake England and steal a Champions League spot from the Premier League by 2017-18, if English clubs continue playing poorly in the Champions League.