Mourinho: 'English teams are second level in Champions League'

The Premier League sides in the Champions League are just playing for the right to face the "big guys", according to Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho Mourinho does not rate the chances of any of the English teams winning the competition particularly highly,   -  Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes that the English teams in the Champions League this year are "second level" to clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Mourinho watched his side cruise to a 3-0 win over Basel at Old Trafford in its Group A opener on Tuesday, though he was not impressed with United's performance, criticising it for not doing a thorough and professional job.

Chelsea was the other English side in action on matchday one, thumping Azerbaijani newcomer Qarabag 6-0 at home, while Manchester City and Liverpool face Feyenoord and Sevilla, respectively, on Wednesday.

Mourinho does not rate the chances of any of them winning the competition particularly highly, though, suggesting that while the Premier League sides are giving the Champions League their all, Madrid, Barca and Bayern are just "warming up" and benefit from having a winter break.

He told reporters: "I think the Champions League for these teams [big European sides] that you are speaking, and for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, I think for these teams the Champions League starts in February.

"Now is just the warming up and in February when us English teams, we are trying to survive after the winter period, they will be fresh and ready after these warm-ups.

"For them this is a warm-up. I think we [English teams] are in the second level. And the second level is 'let's qualify'.

"Let's get the points to qualify for the knock-out phase and when we do that, if we do that, let's enjoy playing against the big guys."

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