Manchester United have been drawn in Group H of the UEFA Champions League group stage, alongside FC Braga, Galtasaray and CFR Cluj.
The draw represents a favourable one for United, but they will be quick to remember their disastrous campaign last season, in which they failed to finish in the top two of a group that contained Benfica, FC Basel and Otelul Galati, of which only Benfica have proven good enough to qualify for this season’s group stage.
Though United will fancy their chances against their opponents in the group, the players and staff will have to contest with some longer trips than they perhaps would have hoped for, with flights to Turkey and Romania on the agenda.
Sir Alex in particular has warned his players that complacency will not be tolerated in the Champions League again this season, as he hopes to help his side rediscover the sort of European form that has seen them qualify for three finals since 2008:
“We have the experience of playing against Galatasaray in the past and we will always remember the ‘Welcome to Hell’ banners. So it’s always a difficult type of match.
“We have drawn Portuguese clubs a number of times over the past few years – the likes of Benfica, Sporting [Lisbon] and Porto – so we have the experience of playing in Portugal on many occasions. Braga are one of the improving teams in that country.
“Obviously, we’ve never played Cluj before but, after the experience of last year, we don’t want to make any stupid errors this time. We will play our strongest team to make sure we get through.”
United’s fixtures are as follows:
Galatasaray (H) 19 September, Cluj (A) 2 October, Braga (H) 23 October, Braga (A) 7 November, Galatasaray (A) 20 November and Cluj (H) 5 December.
Manchester United have also learned their fate in the newly named Capital One (League) Cup, where they have been handed a home tie against Newcastle United.