Phelan: Manchester United aware of need for Champions League improvement

The Red Devils coach is aware of the importance of success in Europe to the club and is backing them to bounce back after drawing Braga, Galatasaray and Cluj in Group H

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan believes the club’s early exit in last season’s Champions League was nothing more than a blip and has stressed the need to improve this term.

The Red Devils exited the competition in the group stages, finishing third behind Benfica and Basel, the first time they had failed to reach the knock-out stages for six years.

Phelan has admitted their displays during the last campaign were not at the level expected and has revealed the players are aware of the need to improve when they begin their quest for a fourth European Cup later this month when they face Braga, Galatasaray and Cluj in Group H.

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"Europe's always big at this football club," Phelan told the club’s official website. "The traditions are set within the European boundaries for Manchester United and we know we have to do better.

"We let Europe slip from our grasp too easily last year. The players are conscious and aware of that, although we haven't dwelled on it as that wouldn't be positive. We've put it down as a blip, but we know we have to do better."

United have won their last two Premier League matches 3-2, against Fulham and Southampton, and Phelan is eager for the scoring to continue with teams unable to “win the league by grinding out 1-0 victories” long gone.

"You learn it's a team game, even though individuals change matches," Phelan added. "Everybody has to be fully focused for the entire match - from first to last whistle.

"I think we also know that we need to score plenty of goals. The old days of being able to win the league by grinding out 1-0 victories is gone.

"In this league now, every goal counts so we want to create more chances and score more goals. We also have to defend well as a unit. All those elements are very important."