Robin van Persie says Manchester United face a tough task if they are to win the Champions League this year.
United return to European action tomorrow night when they travel to Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
After finding the going hard in the Premier League, United manager David Moyes will welcome a return to the European stage.
With United so far off the pace in the hunt for a top-four finish, winning the Champions League may be the club’s best opportunity to qualify for the competition next year. They did well to avoid the harder opponents when the first draw for the knockout phase was made.
But with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the tournament, Van Persie admits it will be hard for the Red Devils to reach the Lisbon final in May.
“Only one team can win it, and it’s very hard,” the Holland striker said.
“It’s a trophy many players don’t win. You win it once, if you’re very lucky.
“You have a couple of players who’ve won it more than once but it’s a very special trophy everyone wants to win every year. It seems to get harder every year to win it, because the teams are getting better and better.”
The Champions League provided Moyes with a welcome break from domestic troubles earlier this season.
United took 14 points from a possible 18 in the group stages and they pulled off one of the results of the competition when they hammered Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 in November.