Champions League

United confident ahead of Brugge tie

2015-08-17 10:00
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

Paris - Manchester United are heavy favourites to get the better of Club Brugge in the Champions League play-offs as they look to return to the group stage after missing out last season.

United entertain last season's Belgian league runners-up in the first leg on Tuesday hoping to take control of the tie before the return in Bruges next week, and manager Louis van Gaal believes his side are ready for the challenge after winning their opening two games of the new Premier League campaign.

"Yes, I think when you win two times then you shall have a lot of confidence," said the Dutchman.

"But every match is difficult and Belgian teams can play very compactly, they can defend and a team always has a chance of winning."

Club Brugge, beaten European Cup finalists in 1978, began their Belgian league campaign with a defeat to unfancied Sint-Truiden but have since started to find their feet, winning their last two home matches.

However, Michel Preud'homme's side, Europa League quarter-finalists last season, know they will be rank outsiders at Old Trafford.

"Manchester will try to make the difference in the home leg but I hope we still manage to create danger," said the 38-year-old captain Timmy Simons.

"Of course, playing at Old Trafford constitutes a real experience for us but I think we need to put it into context and do our job."

The draw could have been far tougher for United, who avoided being paired with last season's quarter-finalists Monaco.

The principality club will instead face Valencia, who came fourth in the Spanish top flight last season, in a tie that looks too close to call.

While Valencia are yet to play a competitive game, Monaco are already four matches into their season, although their hopes have been hit by the loss of midfielder Joao Moutinho for up to six weeks with an ankle injury suffered in Friday's 0-0 draw with Lille in Ligue 1.


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