The confidence created in the Manchester United squad from equalling the Champions League qualification record on Wednesday is clear to see as they prepare to face Swansea on Sunday.
Having made the pool stages for a 20th time to equal Barcelona, Real Madrid and Porto, focus swiftly switched to the draw in which United were dealt a decent hand and then their trip to Wales.
From looking a world away from challenging for honours a week ago against Newcastle as United’s attack failed to sparkle, the three-times European champions are now intent on adding to their trophy cabinet according to midfielder Ashley Young.
“We always set targets for the season and being back in the Champions League was one of them,” Young told the club’s website.
“We got past Brugge to achieve that and now we’re aiming to bring trophies back to United. That’s what everybody at this club wants.
“We want trophies and, fingers crossed, by the end of the season, we’ll have done that.”
Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, in his second season, preferred to watch his second team rather than take in the Champions League draw as he faces another tough test in the league in Wales.
Two losses to Swansea last season was deemed unacceptable by Van Gaal as United – with two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw last time out – seek to reach double figures in the points tally while Swansea (five points) would love to leapfrog the Red Devils with a win.
“Swansea is the most important match now,” was Van Gaal’s reaction to being asked whether he felt United could go a long way in Europe this season.
Young was just excited by playing rather than watching Europe’s premier competition as United’s new-look squad continues to grow under Van Gaal.
“It feels great to be back in the Champions League. Every player wants to be playing on that stage. Last season was tough, sitting at home and watching on TV.
“It was disappointing but to bring those nights back to Old Trafford is fantastic and everyone’s looking forward to it.
“There’s an extra little buzz around the place as well because we’ve got some new players at the club and they’re ready for their first taste of the competition. We’re all excited.”
Image courtesy of bwin via YouTube, with thanks.