Smalling and Lindelof start for Man Utd against Basel

Smalling and Lindelof start for Man Utd against Basel

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he "needs" Marouane Fellaini and feels "weaker" without him in his squad.

The rest of the side is expected to remain the same, with Ander Herrera likely to get another start to add solidity at the heart of midfield alongside Nemanja Matic. So did Victor Lindelof.

After all, the main objective this season, whether Mourinho will admit it publicly or not, is to win the title. Russian champions Spartak are in the group stage for the first time since 2012-13, while Slovenian team Maribor are the big outsider in their third attempt to reach the knockout stage.

However, the Manchester United boss will be without the services of his two first-choice centre-backs, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones unavailable for selection.

"But I think the level is more or the less the same". Mourinho's history in the competition is part of it. Monaco won its group as a fourth-seeded team last season.

But, then, in other ways it is curious.

"I think it is easier for [Lindelof] to play Champions League", Mourinho explained. Lukaku's experience extends to a handful of qualifiers with Anderlecht when he was a teenager.

No wonder United manager Jose Mourinho sounded a note of caution when Basel was drawn as a group-stage opponent in this season's Champions League. "It is highly unusual these days for a £75 million striker not to have had previous experience", the former United midfielder said of Lukaku.

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"You have to play bravely", he told Blick.

'For a club like Manchester United not to be in those games is hard.

"Goodness knows, we had too many free-kicks against us, but that wasn't because we're a physical team, it was because the referee misinterpreted too many things in my view". United qualified by winning the Europa League. They've also never scored more than one goal in those 10 games. Detractors call it being a "flat-track bully". Though United finished a lowly sixth last season in the Premier League, out of the Champions League qualification spots, the Reds' victory in the UEFA Europa League gave them automatic access to the group stages. "A lot more important than you can imagine".

Lindelof, who was a £31m signing from Benfica during the summer, disappointed on United's pre-season tour of the United States leaving him yet to play a minute in the Premier League. "Spanish teams are in a good moment but Manchester United is one of the best teams in the world".

"It's hard to compare at the moment", he said.

Which Irish TV channel is showing the game?

He is set to get his first chance this week.