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What are United's expectations in Europe?

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Manchester United have struggled to get going in their Premier league campaign so far.

But they have got off to a promising start in the UEFA Champions League.

Tomorrow they face Real Sociedad at Old Trafford aiming for their second win in three group games, with United sitting tied top of Group A, on four points.

However, with David Moyes and his side failing to beat West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, are they really capable of competing with the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid for Champions league glory?

The Red Devils have to be considered as huge underdogs to be the outright winners of the competition, but it could bring some much needed confidence if results in Europe continue to be positive.

There is plenty of pride at stake.

Sir Alex Ferguson won the competition twice during his 27 year reign at Old Trafford and reached at least the quarter-finals 12 times. His successor is tasting his first experience of Europe's most prestigious tournament and will need time to emulate what Ferguson has achieved.

But Moyes has got his players to play with no fear.

They've scored five goals in the two group games so far, including a 4-2 home win over Bayer Leverkusen.

It was an action-packed game and a good spectacle for the neutrals - and for the 74,000 home supporters.

Champions League nights are special at Old Trafford and new memories need to be made in a new era for United.

The minimum expectation is to progress to the knock-out stages. 

United have fallen short in the last few seasons in Europe.

Last season's Premier League winners controversially went out to Real Madrid in the last 16 last time around.

The season before they finished third in a relatively comfortable looking group, containing Benfica, FC Basel and Otelul Galati.

To go out in after the first stage is unforgivable for United and Moyes will not want to do this in his first season at the club - in fact he won't want to in any season!

However, progression is looking very likely after Moyes' men returned home from Shakhtar Donetsk with a valuable point, with the trip to Ukraine considered the hardest when the group was drawn.

Do United have the squad to win the Champions League? 

The squad hasn't changed since last season, a squad that won the Premier League.

They have some talented individuals that don't need introducing to this debate.

Wayne Rooney's decision to stay has been a major boost for United, with all potential success now placed on his shoulders.

Rooney has five goals this season including a double against Leverkusen. His work-rate and commitment to the club have been exceptional.

Robin van Persie has been a bit off form for his standards this season, however, he did score his first club goal since September with a strike against Southampton on Saturday.

The Dutch striker will be desperate to reach his first Champions League final in his career.

Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick all provide bags of experience, having won the tournament with the Reds in 2008.

Despite all of this, on the other hand you would say that almost every club across Europe has strengthened well.

Barcelona have signed Brazilian sensation, Neymar. Real Madrid have smashed the transfer record fee again to bring in Gareth Bale as well as Isco.

Last season's winners Bayern Munich have kept the same formidable squad as well as strengthening with Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze.

PSG now have Edinson Cavani to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic while Juventus now have former United star Carlos Tevez, in their ranks.

With an out-dated squad and an inexperienced boss in Europe, an old fashioned Manchester United need to keep up with the youth and flair of a new generation in European football.

Time will tell in February if United are amongst the elite in Europe.

They are within their right to claim a top 16 spot but can you name eight better teams at the moment?

You could probably name eight teams in the Premier League alone who are playing better than this Manchester united side.  

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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