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Van Gaal: we must conquer the best

By Tim Rich

As Manchester United prepared to return to the Champions League after an absence of 14 months, Louis van Gaal said his players still have to convince him they are good enough for Europe's elite competition.

Despite Saturday's 3-1 win over Liverpool, the United manager acknowledged many were questioning their credentials as they got ready to face Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven tonight (7.45pm).

In the absence of Wayne Rooney, Maroune Fellaini is set to be asked to repeat the role of makeshift striker he fulfilled unconvincingly on Saturday, with Anthony Martial - who scored after coming on as a substitute - on the bench.

"We have to show on the pitch if we are able to win matches at the highest level," said Van Gaal, who has not managed in the Champions League since Bayern Munich were knocked out by Inter Milan in February 2011.

"That is a challenge for us now. Last year we were fourth in the Premier League and we qualified for the competition this year.

"That was our aim and now we have to show if we can play at that level. I don't know if we can.

"We will have to wait and see. The Champions League is on a higher podium to the Premier League."

While United are short of forward options without Rooney, their cross-city rivals have a similar problem.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will lead his team into action against Juventus at the Etihad Stadium without Sergio Aguero.

He limped out of Saturday's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace after only 25 minutes.

Pellegrini said: "Sergio is not fit for tomorrow.

"He has a kick in his knee. It is difficult for him."

Belfast Telegraph


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