Sir Alex Ferguson has demanded that his Manchester United players "waken" from their slumbers against Athletic Bilbao tomorrow in order to protect their European status.

Ferguson accepts his side never recovered from tossing away a two-goal lead against Swiss outfit FC Basel on matchday two, a further home draw with Benfica helping to condemn them to a group stage exit from the Champions League for the first time since 2005.

United have found it no easier in the Europa League, where they almost contrived to get knocked out despite at one stage boasting a three-goal aggregate lead to Ajax and Ferguson said: "It is a game in which we need to waken up."

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