Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United side against the complacency that has dogged them in Europe this season.


The Red Devils face Athletic Bilbao on Thursday at Old Trafford in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie, but the Ferguson is keen to avoid another lacklustre performance in a European match.


Old Trafford was the scene of United’s latest European stinker, when they brushed perilously close to elimination at the hands of Ajax after taking the lead in the game and Fergusson is wary of the danger posed by the Basque visitors later this week.


“It's a very difficult tie. All the work Bilbao have done has been very impressive,” Ferguson said on the club’s official website.


“They're a very progressive team in Spain at the moment and it's going to be very difficult for us.


“We need to waken up, there's no question about that. Some of our European form has been disappointing.”


These Europa League ties are the product of being eliminated from the Champions League at the group stages at the hands of Swiss club Basel.


A number of wasteful performances resulted in them exiting the competition and none of these were more notable than the loss in Switzerland, where United had most of the ball and wasted a number of scoring opportunities, only for defensive lapses to prove costly in the end.


Ferguson conceded this was the case and admitted he could not really put his finger on it as to why United have been putting in performances of this standard.


“I don't know if it's because we're making too many changes in these games," he continued.


“Certainly against Ajax in the second leg we did that. We also made mistakes in the group stages. It's our own fault.


“The Basel game will always be remembered for the carelessness of our performance.”

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