Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has welcomed what he considers to be a difficult draw for the Europa League group stage.
United were pitted against Feyenoord, Fenerbahce and FC Zorya Luhansk in a tough-looking Group A during Friday’s draw in Monaco.
Mourinho, however, says the chance to face some major European sides will go some way towards making up for United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last season.
“It’s good for us because we think we’re in the Champions League. There are very similar groups in the Champions League,” he said.
“We know it’s difficult but I think it’s good. It’s good for those who maybe weren’t looking forward to Thursday nights at Old Trafford.
“It’s good for the competition, which doesn’t have the glamour of the Champions League, that Manchester United are playing against clubs of the history of Feyenoord and Fenerbahce. It’s big to play in Rotterdam, Istanbul.”
United travel to Hull City on Saturday looking to preserve their 100 per cent record in competitive matches under Mourinho, who has overseen back-to-back Premier League wins against Bournemouth and Southampton since a 2-1 victory against Leicester City in the Community Shield.
Hull have likewise enjoyed a strong start to the campaign under the stewardship of Mike Phelan, despite significant injury concerns and uncertainty over both the long-term manager and ownership of the club.
Mourinho believes Phelan deserves to be given the role on a permanent basis, regardless of the result at the KC Stadium.
“We had a difficult start with a strange pre-season, players coming in step by step,” he said. “We won the Community Shield and got six points, but more than that, there are good things in the team. We are trying to work, to change.
“But every point is difficult. Hull City found a way to get points. The manager is very experienced, he knows football well and how to organise a team to get results.
“I hope he gets the job losing the match. It’s not fair to make a decision if he wins or loses a match. He was one of the most successful assistants in the country, then he was an important right arm to Bruce, and now he has the job.
“Are they defensive? Yes, they are. But that’s how they get points, so he deserves the job.”