Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United need two years to catch Europe's elite

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"Imagine how much they mean when I lose".

United were beaten 2-1 by Champions League holders Real Madrid in the match in Skopje on Tuesday, much to the dismay of United fan Adedeji Odumboni, who had made the 16-hour trip from Bristol, UK, with his older brother, Adedire, and father, Ibrahim.

Zidane had the chance to quash speculation surrounding Bale, yet side-stepped the subject of Mourinho's comments on three occasions.

The Portuguese was up to familiar tricks at his pre-match news conference, stating United would be keen on signing Gareth Bale if the Wales star is deemed surplus to requirements in the Spanish capital.

"I left and it was hard for the others to say many good things about me".

"I want the team to be on a par with the club's history, which is something I've been lucky enough to feel at every club - there was the same kind of feeling when I was at Inter Milan and at Real Madrid".

"We are here: him, me and all the other players, and all the fans are here for tomorrow's match only".

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United's XI is meanwhile interesting in its own very different way.

"I always say the Champions League is one thing and the Europa League is another, and the Champions League victor obviously has a different potential", said former Real coach Mourinho, whose team are back in Europe's elite club competition this season.

"We are going to try", he said.

But on a sweltering night in the Macedonian capital, last season's Europa League winners improved in the final stages after Romelu Lukaku reduced the deficit, and substitute Marcus Rashford nearly equalised late on.

"The Europa League is very difficult to win because it's hard". I keep saying that. When I left it was a team that had played three consecutive Champions League semis, they had been Spanish champions, they had won games at home as well as overseas.

"But, you know, it's possible".

Cristiano Ronaldo, who featured for Portugal at the Confederations Cup, has travelled with his Real team-mates and is set to face his former club.