Cape Town - Juan Mata has urged Manchester Untied to be cautious when the Champions League returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.
After missing the elite European club competition last season, the Red Devils must overcome Club Brugge in order to progress to the group stages along with fellow English teams, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Mata believes United's Belgian opponents will not be "an easy one" after they saw off Panathinaikos in the earlier qualifying round.
The Spanish playmaker, who has become a regular under Louis van Gaal, says his team-mates are eager to return to the top competition with a place in the group stage 'vital'.
Mata's blog post:
"The two words you can hear everywhere these days, both in Old Trafford and Carrington, our training complex, are Champions League. We are eager to play it again and, as you know, the play-off round is here. We don’t want to get too obsessed with that but it’s true that getting into the group stage is vital for everybody. Since the beginning of the pre-season we are getting ready for this moment.
I have to say that the opponent is not an easy one. Club Brugge has a lot of history in European football, they have just eliminated Panathinaikos with a 3-0 win at home, and I’m sure they are in good shape because the league in Belgium started two weeks earlier than the Premiership. Having said that, I believe we have the responsibility to get through and be part of this competition that brings me - as you know- so many good memories. The last two times I played a European competition until the final game I was lucky to lift the trophy.
As you can imagine, we are facing this challenge in good spirits. Our second win in two games in the Premier League, in a tough stadium like Villa Park, leaves the team in a very good position and we are looking forward to keep this winning streak. Playing on Friday was a bit weird but, as I said after the match, the good score allowed us to have a quiet weekend watching the rest of the games. During the 90 minutes we scored a nice goal and had spells of good football that we want to maintain this season. Basically, I think we are showing consistency as a team; we are not giving away many chances to our rivals, which is always positive. Obviously we know we have to get better, but the most important thing now is to get good results that help the team get started in this long season.
I’m signing off now, looking forward to get a good result this Tuesday. I’m sure the atmosphere in Old Trafford is going to be special, as it is every night in the Champions League…"