David Moyes up for Champions League challenge with Manchester United

David Moyes

David Moyes is conscious he is a Champions League novice but the Manchester United manager is determined to learn quickly when he tests himself in the group stages of the competition for the first time this season.

Moyes's sole experience was in the 2005-06 campaign when his Everton side were eliminated by Villarreal 4-2 at the final knockout stage before the competition proper began. While Moyes also has the expertise drawn from managing Everton in Uefa's second-tier club competitions, he understands taking charge of United in the Champions League demands he gets up to speed instantly.

"For me it will be a thrill and I'm going to have to learn a lot quickly and that's where I'm looking to the likes of Ryan Giggs and a few players around me for the things which I need to be told about," he said. "It's not all about the playing side of it – I've been in the Champions League [qualifiers], watched loads of games, managed in the Europa League – everybody has to start somewhere."

Moyes added: "I think it's a competition where at the start you don't think: 'Oh, they're automatic winners.' There are a few teams who people didn't expect to do well, Galatasaray, Basel. The likes of Juventus were back again [last season]."

"It seemed to take the challenge a little bit from Barcelona and Real Madrid. So I do think it's a much more open competition than what it has been in the past. Even from the draw – if you don't get a particularly good draw it can become a struggle whichever part of the world you're playing in now."

Moyes's predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, won the Champions League twice and took the club to two other finals, while Sir Matt Busby won United their inaugural European Cup in 1968. Moyes is aware of how this success in Europe is a defining part of United's traditions. "I think to win one of the big European tournaments, it's always been seen as something special," he said. "Winning your own domestic league is very important but winning the Champions League has become very important, for the country and Premier League as well.

"I think the year when Manchester United and Chelsea played in the final [2008] everyone connected to football in this country sort of stuck their chest out. It was the German teams this year [at Wembley]. In the past it's been the Spanish teams. I genuinely think there's a swell [of pride] from our country that we want the British teams to do really well. I've got to say I'm really looking forward it."

Moyes has praised the impact of United's young players on the club's pre‑season tour, with Wilfried Zaha, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj and Michael Keane all impressing the manager.

Zaha created Lingard's opener in Tuesday evening's 3-2 loss to Yokohama F-Marinos in Japan. This made it three goals in his past two games, with Januzaj also among United's better performers.

Moyes believes Lingard is making a case for potentially establishing himself in the first-team squad. "He is. It was a tough game for the young boys [against Yokohama] and it was probably as young a team as we could have put out with Wilf, Adnan and Jesse starting the game," said the Scot. "We wanted to see how they do and they're all doing well. It was a hard game for them – one of the best pitches I've seen, a full house again and a wonderful stadium – so it's great experience for those young players.

"I want to see how they can do and I want to give them opportunities because it becomes harder when you're going back [to England] and the games are of a more serious nature. This is their opportunity and they're not disappointing me. The young players are doing well.

"Wilf set up the opener and created another good chance for Jonny Evans to make it 3-1 but he put it past the post. He's shown really good signs but we'll keep working on him."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson in Hong Kong, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 24th July 2013 23.00 Europe/London

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