Norwich City misfit Ricky van Wolfswinkel targets Manchester United Champions League scalp

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The current Premier League title holders return to the European stage after a year's absence.

He raced down the touchline, coattails flapping behind him, when Costinha's late goal took Porto through at United's expense, before witheringly proclaiming that Ferguson's side "should be doing a lot better".

Manchester United can not be faulted for taking the Europa League seriously, something English teams have not always done, and though the rather plodding progress towards success in an unmemorable final seemed the upper limit of José Mourinho's ambition last season the club have not stood still since. "Apart from that, there are many teams in the Champions League that are very similar to teams in the Europa League".

The Portuguese scored 10 goals from the quarter-finals on last season as Zidane's rotation policy left him far fresher and freer of injuries than in previous years.

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - It wasn't so long ago that Swiss team Basel possessed a reputation for being a scourge of English clubs in European competition. There's no winter break, like in other countries, although I have to admit that I love the Christmas period in English football.

Mourinho told the Sunday Times: "There was an evolution in the other clubs; there was no evolution in this club".

"For example, Benfica played Friday in Portugal".

It is also why one of the richest clubs in the world didn't feel the need to go wild in a hyper-inflated transfer market following Neymar's world record 222 million-euro move to Paris Saint-Germain. That happens all the time.

"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".

The group stage of the Champions League kicks off and we are back there, with the best teams in Europe, the place where Manchester United should always be.

However, he says he would gladly accept a repeat of his past meetings with Basel if it meant United reached the last 16.

It has been two years since United last played in the group stages of the competition having won the Europa League against Ajax to gain their passage, Basel certainly won't be strangers to United having knocked them out in the 2011/12 season and Nemanja Matić stated their curtain raiser won't be an easy one.

"It's another step for us to play at the highest level, in the Champions League with the best teams in Europe". Having been given the funds to improve his squad, Manchester City's owners will believe that this is their year as they look to topple current Champions League holders, Real Madrid.

"He's (Jones) playing well for us", Mourinho said.

"I would perfectly accept what happened the last time I played them [in 2013]".