Antonio Valencia believes Manchester United's early European exit will aid their quest to retain their Barclays Premier League crown.

United were, somewhat embarrassingly, knocked out of the Champions League during the group stages, after falling to defeat against Swiss outfit Basel.

They will now have to contest the Europa League, and will begin their campaign in the continent's second-tier competition against Ajax in early February.

United have, though, been in fine fettle domestically since their loss to Basel; winning each of their four league games, while registering 16 goals and conceding only one.

This run of form has seen Sir Alex Ferguson's side move level on points with leaders Manchester City and the race for the title heats up once again.

And, says Valencia, United have been using their Champions League heartache to inspire them towards Barclays Premier League glory.

"The biggest blow was the Champions League because we are a big club and we are expected to be fighting to win the competition, not just qualifying from the group stages," said the winger, according to skysports.com.

"We reached the final last year and it hurts to go out so early.

"But we are using that hurt. The group now tries even harder in training and we are going into games with a determined attitude because we've got to win something, whether it is the Premier League, Europa League or FA Cup.

"We have to make sure we are involved in those trophies and we have a renewed focus."

Topics:
#Premier League
#UEFA Champions League
#Manchester United
#Antonio Valencia
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