Lukaku and Rashford's big UCL opportunity for Manchester United

Erica Murray
September 12, 2017

The Red Devils had plenty of momentum going into the game after beating West Ham, Swansea and Leicester all without conceding goal, which saw them comfortably at the top of the Premier League.

And the Spain worldwide has reason to be confident, conceding only two goals in United's opening four games of the Premier League season.

Mourinho admits United are perhaps not at the level of certain elite Champions League sides given that they have only qualified for the tournament twice in the last four years.

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. Summer signing Romelu Lukaku will make his debut in the competition on Tuesday night, so too will his attacking partner Marcus Rashford, who famously made his United debut in the Europa League with a brace against FC Midtjylland. Basel is reportedly weakened by persistent sales of top players since eliminating United in the 2011 groups. While Mourinho's team remains some way from being able to compete with Europe's best, the quality in the squad means anything but winning Group A will be seen as somewhat disappointing.

Real Madrid has won the Champions League three times in the past four years, and is looking to become the first team since Bayern Munich (1974-76) to be European champion in three straight years.

But United may be without Marouane Fellaini, who excelled in May's Europa League final win over Ajax and who has a calf problem.

"He's an important player for me - a lot more important than you can imagine". He brought a tactical awareness that we needed in Europe that was different to the flow of the Premier League. "There are really strong teams in England and really strong teams in Spain but it's true, in England, we normally never have a break in December and January".

Smalling is yet to feature for United in the league this season with his last appearance coming during their defeat to Real Madrid in the Super Cup last month.

United's staff say Lukaku genuinely believes he will, one day, become the best striker in the world. "It doesn't matter if it's on the pitch or on the bench, if his condition improves, he will be selected because I need him", remarked Mourinho.

Basel are winless in their last 10 Champions League games (D4 L6), their longest drought in the competition.

Other reports by Insurance News

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