Prudent Real Madrid remain Champions League favourites


Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has claimed that the club would be serious contenders for Champions League glory if Gareth Bale was part of the team.

Not to mention that Antoine would also be cup tied for the Champions League should Manchester United still be in the competition.

Suspensions to first-team centre-backs Phil Jones and Eric Bailly mean Chris Smalling and new signing Victor Lindelof will deputise in their absence. However, there was little time for preparation, and therefore for the upcoming fight Mourinho will certainly add to the team.

Lindelof, who will partner Chris Smalling, endured a hard pre-season and has only made one competitive appearance for United, when he struggled in the Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid.

"Being humble is to admit the opponent has the same ambition as we have and that the opponent can come here, like they did in the past, and give Manchester United a bad taste".

There is something clever to the way Manchester United have approached this week.

"I think in the Champions League there are four or five teams with an incredible level of quality and experience and know how and that's what makes the difference. So if his condition improves then he will be selected, because I need him".

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According to FiveThirtyEight's Soccer Power Index (SPI), United enter with an 86 percent chance of advancing beyond Group A, while Basel hold just a 12 percent chance of doing so.

"That might sound a bit barmy, given the fact Liverpool have dipped in and out of the top four in recent years and haven't had too much Champions League action of late".

Manchester United are back in the Champions League under Jose Mourinho, achieving qualification by winning the Europa League last season.

The Portuguese gaffer has also mentioned that Marouane Fellaini is a very important member of the squad.

"To say thanks for being with us, here's a special sporting treat for our pay monthly mobile and tablet customers: three months' free BT Sport on your EE phone and connected tablet", BT explains. "I will go with him again", he said.

"We were very focused on trying to win the Premier League and fighting with (eventual champions) Leicester".

The Champions League group stage starts this week with Real Madrid looking to win Europe's top club competition for a third straight year, a feat not achieved since Bayern Munich in the 1970s.