(Reuters) - Manchester United fullback Matteo Darmian believes they must beat Feyenoord at Old Trafford on Thursday as they bid to reach the Europa League knockout stage from a difficult Group A.
Defeat by second-placed Feyenoord would put United, a point behind the top two, out if leaders Fenerbahce beat visiting Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in their penultimate group match.
"I think it is a difficult group because we have to face a difficult opponent, but we are still in the race. We have an important game against Feyenoord and have to win. We'll prepare to make sure we're ready," Darmian told MUTV.
United lost 1-0 to Feyenoord in Rotterdam in September but are on a 13-game unbeaten streak at home in Europe, last losing to Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the 2012-13 season.
Feyenoord have not won in their last three European away games.
"I remember (playing Feyenoord away) because it was not a good game for us. We have to change this and win our away games, but for now we’re playing at home and maybe that is a little bit easier." Italian Darmian said.
The Europa League is the only major title United have not won and Darmian said the competition had become more attractive since the winners were guaranteed a Champions League spot.
United are sixth in the Premier League after 12 games, two places and six points below the Champions League spots.
"I think it (the Europa league) is a big competition. (Winning it) gives us a big opportunity to get into the Champions League which is crucial for a club like Manchester United," Darmian added.
(Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)