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Mourinho plays down Champions League hopes

12 September, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Carla Brady
  • Louis Van Gaal reveals he was under enormous pressure in his last term at Man Utd

Manchester United are returning to their "natural habitat" of elite club competition by playing their first UEFA Champions League match for nearly two years, according to manager José Mourinho.

After a season out of Europe's premier club competition, United return to Champions League action against FC Basel - the outfit at which the Stoke midfielder began his professional career. Basel is reportedly weakened by persistent sales of top players since eliminating United in the 2011 groups.

"For me, they are the same level". "They could do it and they arrived at the Champions League final with a fresh team".

Real Madrid have won the Champions League three times in the past four years, and are looking to become the first team since Bayern Munich (1974-76) to be European champion in three straight years. I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad.

Jones endured a hard afternoon at the Britannia Stadium as he was at fault for Stoke's second half equaliser but Mourinho has refused to criticise the England worldwide for his display. "I was sacked as a champion, (Claudio) Ranieri was sacked as a champion, Frank de Boer is sacked after four games", Mourinho said.

"Of course, in the first season I was trying to improve (this)".

Mourinho suggested Fellaini had picked up the injury before the global break and seemed unimpressed he played 89 minutes for Belgium against Greece before being ruled out of the trip to Stoke.

"He had a [calf] problem with his national team and then he played a match against Greece, and after the match he felt the problem".




However, Nemanja Matic continued to boss the midfield, and with a team consisting of eight players over 6ft, United weren't lacking their own aerial dominance when Stoke crossed a ball in for Choupo-Moting's equaliser.

Disciplinary Action: Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have already been slated to start, as they will replace Eric Bailly and Phil Jones who will be serving their UEFA suspensions.

The Premier League, meanwhile, has not provided a victor since Chelsea in 2012. These are tough moments for English teams, when we have many games, and I think it is a bit hard to be ready for the Champions League.

"There is more difference in relation to the Premier League".

It raises the question about whether Champions League experience matters.

Mourinho told a news conference: "I go match by match".

"He's an intelligent kid, very bright, very clam, he knows step by step he is going to be there".

"Goodness knows, we had too many free-kicks against us, but that wasn't because we're a physical team, it was because the referee misinterpreted too many things in my view".

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