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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Manchester United draw Fenerbahce, Feyenoord in Europa League

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.

"There are groups in the Champions League that are very similar, so it is good for that," Mourinho told a news conference. "We all know the competition is not the same as the Champions League but to have Manchester United playing against clubs with tradition like Fenerbahce and Feyenoord is good for us.

"I don't have more vision about Ukraine. We know that it will be a difficult group, but I think that is a good thing. If you have teams without expression then even the fans may not enjoy Thursday nights at Old Trafford.

"It is good for the fans and for the players because it will help motivation."

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.

Southampton's executive director of football Les Reed said they were relishing matches against some of Europe's historic clubs.

"It's a very exciting draw for everyone involved at the football club," he said. "There are some big challenges for us, with a big giant in Inter Milan.

"I'm sure everyone will look forward to that home and away, but the other games will also be great tests for us with excellent atmospheres."

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.

GROUP A
Manchester United
Fenerbahce
Feyenoord
Zorya Luhansk

GROUP B
Olympiakos
APOEL
Young Boys
FK Astana

GROUP C
Anderlecht
St Etienne
Mainz
FK Qabala

GROUP D
Zenit St Petersburg
AZ Alkmaar
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dundalk

GROUP E
Viktoria Plzen
AS Roma
Austria Vienna
Astra Giurgiu

GROUP F
Athletic Bilbao
Genk
Rapid Vienna
Sassuolo

GROUP G
Ajax
Standard Liege
Celta Vigo
Panathinaikos

GROUP H
Shakhtar Donetsk
Braga
Gent
Konyaspor

GROUP I
Schalke
Salzburg
Krasnodar
Nice

GROUP J
Fiorentina
PAOK
Slovan Liberec
FK Qarabag

GROUP K
Inter Milan
Sparta Prague
Southampton
Hapoel Beer-Sheva

GROUP L
Villarreal
Steaua Bucharest
FC Zurich
Osmanlispor

GROUP STAGE MATCHDAYS
September 15
September 29
October 20
November 3
November 24
December 8

Round of 32 draw: Monday, Dec. 12.

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