Van Bronckhorst: Manchester United still one of world's biggest clubs

Giovanni van Bronckhorst expects a difficult encounter when Feyenoord take on Manchester United, despite the visitors' key absentees.

Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes Manchester United are still one of the biggest clubs in the world as they prepare for Thursday's Europa League encounter in De Kuip.

United boss Jose Mourinho has left players such as Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of his squad for the trip to Rotterdam, but Van Bronckhorst feels they still have plenty of high-profile names left and remain a huge force despite their absence from the Champions League.

"It's a very big game for us against one of the biggest teams in the world. It's a big challenge," Van Bronckhorst stated at a news conference.

"We are playing against a top team and will have to be patient. You will be punished if you make mistakes at this level. We have to take our chances.

"The squad United are taking to Rotterdam has a lot of individual quality and experience. United have a number of players who can make the difference. No matter what their team looks like on Thursday, we will be prepared.

"This is a difficult group with some strong opponents, but our goal is to survive the group stages. We want to play as many big games as possible. It would be a big bonus for us if we still play in Europe after the winter break."

Dirk Kuyt, meanwhile, is full of respect for opponents United, but is hopeful of getting a good result.

"I think United are under enormous pressure because everyone wants them to win the Premier League. They are a contender for the league," Kuyt added.

"PSV beat United last year and that was a fantastic result, but this is a different United. Mourinho will win trophies with United if he gets time. He is a very successful coach.

"I want to be successful against United. I have good memories of games against them from my time at Liverpool They are still a bit of a rival to me."