Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, whose side are 7/2 with bookmaker to win the Europa League, believes that the competition is almost on a par with the Champions League.
The Red Devils dropped into the Europa League after being dumped out of the group stages of European club football’s premier competition, but De Gea is not too worried by that drop.
He said ahead of Thursday’s clash with Athletic Bilbao: “I think this competition has become a second Champions League. There are great teams and strong rivals. It will be difficult to win it.”
United host the Basque outfit in the first leg of their last-16 tie, before heading to the San Mames for the return seven days later.
The two sides have only met in one previous European tie, in the 1956/57 European Cup, when United won 3-0 at Old Trafford to overturn a 5-3 deficit from the first leg in Spain.