Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said the club competing in the Europa League will make it harder for them to win the Premier League.
United open their Europa League campaign on Thursday against Feyenoord after finishing fifth under former boss Louis van Gaal last season.
“It [the Europa League] is not a competition that Man United wants,” Mourinho told reporters. “It is not one I want or the players but it is a competition where we are and that is the reality.
“We have to respect the competition. We want to do well and for a club of our dimension it is not to be out of the competition in the group stage.
“It’s more difficult, yes [to win the Premier League when you are playing in the Europa League]. It would be better if we had the privilege of playing on a Monday after a Thursday game to have one day [recovery] but we didn’t get that privilege.
“In fact, the gift we have is to play Liverpool on the Monday before, not the Monday after. So [next month] we play Liverpool on the Monday, Fenerbahce on the Thursday and Chelsea on the Sunday. So we know that we are not going to have any kind of support on that.
“We are not going to make a drama out of it. There is more reason to get a result tomorrow because if you go into the last game in December [against Zorya Luhansk in Ukraine] needing points to qualify it puts us in a more difficult situation.”
Mourinho has also admitted that the Europa League is “not the big dream for every big player” but they have to find motivation and United want to win the competition.
United, who travel to Watford on Sunday, also face Fenerbahce and FC Zorya Luhansk in Group A.