Man United facing grueling travel in Europa League
The three-time champions of the more illustrious European Cup are back in the second-tier competition after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season.
“It’s a long way away, logistically speaking, it’s not the easiest,” said former United player Denis Irwin, who represented the club at the draw in Monaco. “We would rather be in the Champions League, obviously, but we’ll be out to win this competition.”
Premier League rival Arsenal has a more favorable travel schedule for the Thursday night games, with journeys to Germany, Belgium and Portugal. The London club, which lost to Chelsea in the final in May, was drawn into Group F with 2019 semifinalist Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria.
Another European Cup champion, Celtic, is in Group E with Lazio, Rennes and Cluj. The Romanian team beat Celtic in Champions League qualifying before falling short in the bid to reach the group stage.
“It’s a great draw,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. “A couple of glamour games and the chance for some retribution against Cluj.”
The winners of the Europa League earn a place in the next season’s Champions League.