Manchester United return to Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League, after a gap of a season and their Spanish maestro, Juan Mata , is clearly itching to be putting his craft to the test against the best of the continent.
The Red Devils have begun the season in searing form and are topping the Premier League table with 10 points from three matches and their fans hope their domestic form will carry forward into Europe as well.
Mata started their opening three games of the season but was dropped to the bench for their tie against Stoke on the weekend, which was the first game where United failed to register a win in the Premier League.
United, who qualified for the Champions League by virtue of winning the UEFA Europa League last season, were drawn in a relatively straightforward group consisting of CSKA Moscow, FC Basel and Benfica.
As a result, the English giants, who have won European club football’s biggest prize thrice, are expected to top the group. Coincidentally, Mata is one of the few players in the current United squad to have won the Champions League, albeit during his time as a Chelsea player.
They host Swiss side FC Basel on Matchday 1 (Tuesday night) and despite having two of their first-choice defenders (Eric Bailly and Phil Jones) suspended, will be looking to clinch three points.