Jose Mourinho will be looking to maintain an impressive Champions League group stage stat as he takes Manchester United into Europe’s elite competition after a 644 day absence.
The Portuguese tactician has never failed to reach the knockout stages in his long Champions League career.
Mourinho won the tournament with Porto in 2003/04 and Inter Milan in in 2009/10 and has reached seven other semi finals.
The Red Devils boss recently played down his team’s chances of winning the coveted trophy, but insisted nothing less than reaching the last 16 will do.
‘There are many teams in the Champions League that are very similar to teams in the Europa League,’ Mourinho said.
‘In fact, Feyenoord and Anderlecht, we played them last year in the Europa League, they were champions in their countries and now they are playing in the Champions League, so there are many teams with similar qualities.
‘We have to try to qualify, we have to try to go to the last 16 and enjoy that special knockout phase with the best teams in Europe.’
Mourinho’s also said that United’s return to the competition puts them back in their ‘natural habitat’.
‘To be back to Champions League is just to go back to the natural habitat for Manchester United, season after season,’ he added.
‘Myself, I only play Europa League twice. Apart from that I always played Champions League.
‘For some players it is to go back, for some players it is the motivation of playing Champions League for the first time.
‘So, yes, we look forward to the match tomorrow and I hope also Old Trafford feels it in the same way we are feeling it.’