August 25, 2016 / 4:46 PM / 3 years ago

Manchester United will respect Europa League, says Herrera

Football Soccer Britain - Manchester United v Everton - Wayne Rooney Testimonial - Old Trafford - 3/8/16 Manchester United's Ander Herrera in action with Everton's Ross Barkley Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

(Reuters) - Manchester United are excited about participating in the Europa League this season and Jose Mourinho’s side will be taking the competition seriously, midfielder Ander Herrera said on Thursday.

United missed out on a return to the Champions League after finishing fifth in the Premier League under Louis van Gaal and had to settle for a spot in Europe’s secondary club competition.

“I think it is a very enjoyable competition and we want to fight for every competition we have this season,” midfielder Herrera told MUTV. “I think we are the biggest club in the draw and we have to respect our history.

“We want to fight for that title and we are very excited to see the draw.

“The players want as many games as possible so we have the chance to play every Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday. It is very important for us.”

Europa League winners receive an automatic spot in the Champions League group stage and Herrera believes that the tournament’s reputation has benefited as a result.

“The Europa League has become more important every season, I think UEFA has worked very well on that,” he added. “There will be time for everyone in the squad and hopefully we can get as far as possible in the competition.”

Chelsea are the only English team to win the competition since it was rebranded in the 2009-10 season, with Fulham and Liverpool losing the 2010 and 2016 finals to Atletico Madrid and Sevilla respectively.

The draw will be made on Friday.

Reporting by Ed Dove, editing by Ed Osmond

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