'We have no winter break, but I love it,' says Mourinho

Posted September 12, 2017

In reality, though, United — the current leader of the Premier League — should have little to worry about when it opens group play against the Swiss champion at Old Trafford on Tuesday. The Red Devils were not in the competition last season however they qualified this year after winning the Europa League.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has lowered expectations ahead of their UEFA Champions League return after setting a target of reaching the last 16.

"But we are strong, we are playing well, we have good confidence in ourselves". Ander Herrera played alongside the pair for Saturday's combative 2-2 draw at Stoke City, but the tenacious midfielder's qualities may not be required on a night when United are expected to dominate the play.

Moyes replaced Ferguson, but was sacked after 10 months following poor league results and the team's exit from domestic cup competitions and the quarter-finals of the Champions League. "I feel weaker without Fellaini".

"He had a problem in the national team and he played against Greece and after the match, he felt the problem", Mourinho said.

Writing in his column for the Mirror, Collymore is adamant that the current Premier League champions will struggle in Europe this season and rivals Liverpool and Manchester United are better equipped for the knockout rounds. Wicky has been in the Basel setup since 2013 but prior to this season has only coached them at under-18 and under-21 level.

Ashley Young is back in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo remain absent through knee injuries. Basel has only lost two of their last ten games.

Goalkeeper David de Gea is set to be United's first-choice goalkeeper in Europe, with Mourinho confirming he will not repeat his selection policy of last season, when back-up Sergio Romero played in the Europa League.

United have hosted Basel twice at Old Trafford, yet have failed to beat them on either occasion. For now, the record is perfectly balanced with one win each and two draws. He has given them a big presence in attack and he is going to be key for them in the Champions League. Remember - we had to reduce gap to the top-four sides, now we're fighting again to reduce the gap with these type of clubs in the Champions League.

Before this season then, post-Ferguson United had a grand total of six Champions League appearances that can not be attributed to the success of the Scot's final side.

United competed in the Champions League for 18 consecutive seasons before only qualifying for it in one of the last three and Mourinho admitted this will be a new experience for some of his charges.

Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has started the season in tremendous form, bagging seven goals in seven games.

Mourinho is taking part in the Champions League with a fifth different club after Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.