Jose Mourinho has insisted that Manchester United must return to their “natural habitat” in the Champions League as soon as possible.
The Red Devils finished fifth last season under previous boss Louis van Gaal and had to settle for a place in the Europa League this season.
Now Mourinho’s side have to watch as last season’s Premier League winners Leicester City as well as Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City battle it out in Europe’s top club competition without them.
“Man United has to be in the Champions League. I think that the Champions League is empty when Man United is not there.
“Imagine the Champions League without Man United, Real Madrid, Barcelona. There are a certain numbers of clubs that make it not a Champions League without these clubs. That’s Man United and their natural habitat.”
Mourinho, who won the Community Shield at the weekend, wants to see significant improvement from his side this season and is hoping to aim higher than a top four finish.
“I wouldn’t be happy with just finishing in the top four,” added Mourinho.
“I would be happy with that but plus a greater evolution in the team in terms of our evolved football. Opening the door for in the next couple of years back to winning titles.”
The aim for Manchester United this season has to be to win every game, according to the Portuguese coach.
“I don’t like to go to the players and tell them ‘let’s try to finish in the top four’ – let’s try to win every game. We don’t and we know that, especially in this country, at this moment it is impossible for anyone.
“But to have that as a starting point, let’s go to every game and try to win every game. But I think a big club like we are, we need to have this mentality.”