MANCHESTER, England (AP) — David Moyes' experience in the Champions League amounts to two qualifying matches back in 2005, when he was manager of Everton.
He lost both games.
Moyes' pedigree in Europe is therefore under scrutiny as he makes his return to the competition eight years later at the helm of Manchester United. And he is unlikely to be given an easy ride in the group stage after United was pitted with Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad.
Moyes called predecessor Alex Ferguson after last month's draw and was handed a grim assessment by a man who won Europe's top prize twice — in 1999 and 2008 — in his near-27 years at Old Trafford.
"He said he thinks it's one of the hardest draws United have ever had in the Champions League," Moyes said. "If that's coming from him, it must be tough."
United opens its Group A campaign at home to in-form Leverkusen on Tuesday, when Shakhtar — eliminated in the last 16 last season — travels to Sociedad.
"I think all groups are tough," Moyes said on Monday. "You could always pick the winner out of it in the past, but it's become more difficult and more unpredictable now. I see it as a pretty tough, open group. Everyone wants to do well in it. This is a competition that the players are used to and enjoy playing in."
The English champions are favored to top the group, but their start to Moyes' first season in charge has been underwhelming.
After picking up four points from its opening three games for the team's worst start to a Premier League campaign in five years, United toiled on Saturday to a 2-0 win over promoted Crystal Palace, which played with more than half of the game with 10 men.
However, Moyes did see both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney get on the scoresheet against Palace. And with Rooney back in action after a head injury and getting closer to full fitness, opponents should be fearful of United's front two.
"The hope is that we get a partnership where folk are saying, 'My goodness, we are having to play against Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney,'" Moyes said. "Everybody is looking to see if those two form a partnership that can score lots of goals."
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.