Man Utd belong in the Champions League - Mourinho

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The Portuguese admits that it hurts him not to be involved in Europe's premier club competition but is optimistic of returning there next season

Jose Mourinho admits that he is hurt by Manchester United's absence from the Champions League this season.

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Mourinho and Co. have been forced to settle for Europa League football this season after previous boss Louis van Gaal was unable to deliver a top-four finish in the Premier League last term.

United are preparing for the last 32 in the Europa League - pitted against Saint-Etienne - and the manager is desperate to be back among Europe's elite, with the club currently sixth in the Premier League and five points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool ahead of Wednesday's match against Hull City.

"Personally, I miss the Champions League," Mourinho, who has won the Champions League with Inter and Porto, told the press. "Every match I don't play in the Champions League means an incredible number of matches is not going up.

"I am the youngest one to be in the club of 100 [games in the competition]. Every time I don't play I am not happy.

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"But obviously Manchester United is much more important than me. What matters is Manchester United and, as everyone knows, it's a club that belongs to the Champions League.

"We shall do everything possible to make sure we are in it next season.

"We have two chances to be there: one is by winning the Europa League, the other is by finishing in the top four. Both achievable, both difficult, but we are going to work hard for that."

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