The return of domestic action following the international break is made even more sweeter by the return of Champions League football this week.
The group stage will get underway on Tuesday and Wednesday and there are some exciting storylines to look forward to, including Barcelona taking on Juventus, the team who knocked them out of last season’s competition, and Manchester United and Chelsea’s return to the tournament.
Man United booked their place not by finishing in the top four of the Premier League but by winning the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho took a risk last campaign, abandoning Man United’s top four hopes when his side reached the latter stages of the Europa League. But it paid off, the Red Devils defeating Ajax in Sweden to claim the trophy.
Mourinho’s team host Basel on Tuesday in their first Champions League match since December 8, 2015.
Man United have made a great start to the season, shooting to the top of the Premier League table with three wins and a draw from their opening four matches, but it remains to be seen how they stack up against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Mourinho: English sides are disadvantaged
The signings - £89 million on Paul Pogba, £75m on Romely Lukaku - suggests they are setting their sights on returning to Europe’s elite group.
But Mourinho believes it will be difficult for his side - and the other English clubs competing in the Champions League - to win the competition this year.
In fact, Mourinho believes English sides are at a disadvantage every year because clubs from Europe can prioritise the tournament in a way English sides can’t.
“We have to face what we have,” he told reporters, per the Independent.
“We have to admit that there are differences in relation to other countries. That's obvious but there is nothing to do, that's the way it is.
“Real Madrid last year played the last month in La Liga with a second team. They could do it. They arrived in the Champions League final with a fresh team.
“Juventus, because they were champions in Italy three months in advance, they could play the last month with a second team.
“They were fresh also for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, final. English teams normally that's impossible, because the competition goes very strong until the end.”
It’s easy to see where Mourinho is coming from. Rarely is the Premier League settled early enough to allow teams still in the Champions League to rest players in domestic matches.
But another reason why an England side hasn’t won the tournament since 2012 is the difference in talent.
Who will win the Champions League this season? Let us know in the comments section below!
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