Manchester United will face Fenerbahce and Feyenoord in Group A in the 2016-17 Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s side are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the competition, which begins on Sept. 15, but face tough opposition in Turkish side Fenerbahce, whose squad includes former United striker Robin van Persie, and Dutch club Feyenoord.
Zorya Luhansk, who finished fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, complete the group.
United, who qualified automatically for the group stage, have never won the Europa League or its previous incarnation, the UEFA Cup.
Mourinho, speaking at his news conference on Friday, said he was pleased to have been handed a difficult draw.
“We think we are in Champions League,” he said. “[There are] very similar groups in the Champions League. It is difficult group but it is good. It’s a big match to play in Istanbul as it is in Rotterdam. It’s good for us.”
Confirmed: Our @EuropaLeague Group A opponents… #UELdraw pic.twitter.com/MZigfjiqzI
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 26, 2016
Inter Milan — who won the UEFA Cup three times in the 1990s — will take on Claude Puel’s Southampton in Group K as well as Sparta Prague and Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Roma, perhaps the strongest side in Pot 2, have been drawn alongside top seeds Viktoria Plzen plus Austria Vienna. Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, who beat West Ham to secure their place, complete Group E.
Athletic Bilbao, who lost to Atletico Madrid in the 2012 final, will take on Italy’s Sassuolo, making their European debut this season, along with Genk and Rapid Vienna.
Ajax, who lost their Champions League playoff to Rostov, face La Liga’s Celta Vigo, Greek club Panathinaikos and Belgium’s Standard Liege in Group G.
Villarreal, semifinalists last season, play Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich and Turkish Super League side Osmanlispor in Group L.
Germany’s Schalke face Austria’s FC Salzburg, French club Nice and Russian Premier League side FC Krasnodar in Group I.
Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, the winners of the final UEFA Cup in 2009, face Portugal’s Braga, Belgium’s Gent and Turkey’s Konyaspor in Group H.
Fiorentina, the 1990 UEFA Cup finalists, appear to have a favourable draw with Greece’s PAOK, Czech side Liberec and Azerbaijani club Qarabag.
The official result of the #UELdraw pic.twitter.com/5Aw0eSrGaf
– UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) August 26, 2016
Zenit St Petersburg
GROUP STAGE MATCHDAYS
Round of 32 draw: Monday, Dec. 12.