Preview: Moyes can't wait to make Champions League debut with Manchester United

AFP, Tuesday 17 Sep 2013

The new United boss hopes to get a huge home support against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday


David Moyes admits he can't wait to savour his first taste of Champions League action with Manchester United as his team prepare to open their campaign on Tuesday.

United's clash with German club Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford is the first stage of Moyes's long-awaited chance to test himself against the best in Europe.

The closest Moyes had previous come to taking part in the group stages of the continent's elite club competition came with Everton in 2005 when his side were beaten by Villarreal in the qualifying rounds.

But, after 15 years in management, his moment has finally come and the Scot says he is already relishing every moment of his involvement in the competition.

"I am really looking forward to the Champions League," Moyes said on Monday.

"I have been there with Everton but we didn't quite make the group stages.

"This is something different. I'm now managing a club which is used to getting close to the final stages and I will try and do that again."

United's European history stands comparison with the very best clubs in the world.

And if Moyes needed any reminding, he quickly understood the situation when he took a visit from United legend Bobby Charlton in the early days of his reign.

"It was a really important moment for me when Sir Bobby said he wanted to see me in my office," he said.

"Everybody, when they see Bobby Charlton, is in awe of him.

"He was an incredibly humble man and he explained what it is like to be at Manchester United and what a Manchester United manager should be like.

"I will keep what he said to myself but there is a way to do things at this club. I understand that and I will try to uphold those traditions."

Moyes also revealed his predecessor Alex Ferguson told him a group containing Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad, in addition to Leverksuen, is one of the toughest he could have got.

To progress, United must improve their poor European home form, which has seen them lose four of their last six at Old Trafford and Moyes accepts that record is not good enough.

"I have been to Old Trafford for the Champions League games and I am always amazed by the atmosphere," he said.

"With the crowd, under the lights, I am hoping that alone will give the supporters something to shout about.

"The players are already motivated because of the level of game it is and the competition it is. We will go in there and try and put on a good show and try and improve on that record."

Wayne Rooney is expected to start on Tuesday, although Moyes revealed the England striker will require the special headband he wore on Saturday.

Rafael da Silva and Phil Jones also trained to varying degrees as did Japan playmaker Shinji Kagawa, although he is yet to fully shake off the flu virus that kept him out of the weekend win over Crystal Palace.

One player who will definitely be absent is Adnan Januzaj, the 18-year-old Belgian who made such an eye-catching debut against Palace.

Moyes confirmed that the complicated UEFA eligibility criteria means if United wait to register him until October 7, by which time he will have been with the club for two years, he can go on the B list of youth players.

It means Januzaj will sit out both Tuesday's game and the trip to Shakhtar Donetsk next month.

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