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Club Brugge 'need a miracle' to win Champions League qualifier, says manager

Michel Preud'homme admits it will be extremely difficult to turn around 3-1 deficit without eight first-team players, but adds 'let's pray'

Wayne Rooney failed to find the net during United's 3-1 win over Club Brugge
Wayne Rooney failed to find the net during United's 3-1 win over Club Brugge

Mark Ogden

Club Brugge manager Michel Preud'homme has claimed his team need a ‘miracle’ to deny Manchester United a place in the Champions League group stages.

United, absent from Europe last season, are strong favourites to overcome Brugge at the Jan Breydel Stadium on Wednesday after securing a 3-1 first-leg victory at Old Trafford last week.

Marouane Fellaini’s goal, four minutes into stoppage time last Tuesday, ensured that Louis van Gaal’s squad arrived in Belgium with a two-goal cushion against Preud’homme’s team.

And although a 2-0 victory will be enough for last season’s Belgian League runners-up to consign United to the Europa League, Preud’homme fears that Brugge face an almost impossible task against Van Gaal’s men.

 “Miracles happen sometimes, but they are two goals in front and they are a very professional team," Preud'homme said. "To get a miracle, you need to be perfect and you need the other to not play at his best potential.

“We have a lot of players out, too, but if we want to have a chance, we have to be perfect.

 “It will be very difficult, but let's pray."

Brugge go into the Champions League Play-Off second-leg without eight first-team players, including the suspended defender Brandon Mechele, who was sent off in last week’s fixture at Old Trafford.

And Preud’homme admits that even an early goal by the home side will do little to put United off their stride on Wednesday.

"This United team can live with pressure," Preud'homme said. "They have it each day, each minute in each game.

“When you see this team playing, they play on their quality, against Tottenham, against Newcastle, against us. They keep doing the same.

"I don't think they'll have more pressure if we score, but it's important for our confidence if we score.

“Last week, they showed their quality with Depay’s two goals and the my old friend Fellaini gave them the icing on the cake right at the end.”

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