There were sharp intakes of breath across Europe as the UEFA Europa League group stage draw paired Turin titans Juventus with big-spending English side Manchester City FC, while Liverpool FC are in with FC Steaua Bucureşti, SSC Napoli and Celtic FC's conquerors, FC Utrecht, elsewhere. UEFA.com gauges reaction from across the continent.
Group A: Juventus, Manchester City FC, FC Salzburg, KKS Lech Poznań
Alberto Aquilani, Juventus midfielder
I played in England and I know all English teams give their all on the pitch. Manchester City made big summer signings and will be a tough opponents, but we are Juventus and must play with our heads held high.
Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager
Juventus are traditionally one of the very top sides in Europe and are maybe the biggest name in this year's Europa League. I know Juve well from my time in Italy. They have some excellent players and also have a massive support, so both games against them will be great occasions. But we must respect all of our opponents, they will all be difficult games, and we must be at our very best to get through this group.
Huub Stevens, Salzburg coach
What a great group. This is as good as the Champions League. These are absolutely top-class clubs and we can expect great games and a sold-out arena.
Manuel Arboleda, Lech defender
We got the most difficult group and I am glad. It is amazing to play against big teams. Polish football will gain a lot thanks to this draw. Big clubs will come to Poland and Polish football will become better known in Europe. From a footballing point of view the task is extremely difficult, but miracles sometimes happen so we won't give up.
Group B: Club Atlético de Madrid, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Rosenborg BK, Aris Thessaloniki FC
Rudi Völler, Leverkusen sporting director
There are lots of strong teams in the Europa League this season, and Atlético is an especially big challenge, but Rosenborg and Aris are difficult to play as well. Nevertheless, we are optimistic that we can get through.
Nils Arne Eggen Rosenborg coach
Atlético are the holders, so they will be our hardest opponents. We also know that the German Bundesliga is a good league, so Bayer Leverkusen will be tough too. We will try to find out more about Aris. This should be an interesting autumn.
Carlos Ruiz, Aris striker
We got a tough group; we know that. Atlético are the reigning champions, but it's football and we will do everything in our power to reach the next stage.
Group C: Sporting Clube de Portugal, LOSC Lille Métropole, PFC Levski Sofia, KAA Gent
Georgi Ivanov, Levski sporting director
Obviously, Sporting are the favorites in the group. We may get some points from Lille and Gent. Now we are in the group stage, there is not so much pressure on us, and we will try to go through
Group D: Villarreal CF, Club Brugge KV, NK Dinamo Zagreb, PAOK FC
Juan Carlos Garrido, Villarreal coach
I'd say that in our group our opponents are in that medium-to-high quality bracket; they will demand the very best from us. Although our group is a demanding one, I think that we have a strong chance of going through if we give 100%.
Vahid Halilhodžić, Dinamo Zagreb coach
It could have been worse. The Europa League is a very strong competition and there are very classy teams in our group, but anything can happen. We are optimists.
Kostas Chalkias, PAOK goalkeeper and captain
It's an opportunity for the younger players to gather experience. Villarreal represent the best league in Europe, the Spanish Liga, but we will stand up to them and fight until the end.
Group E: AZ Alkmaar, FC Dynamo Kyiv, FC BATE Borisov, FC Sheriff
Gertjan Verbeek, AZ coach
For the fans these may be some less attractive names, but our chances of progressing have increased as a result. We saw Dynamo Kyiv in their play-off against Ajax, so I will obviously be giving Martin Jol a call from some extra information.
Ihor Surkis, Dynamo president
We were lucky with the draw this time, but it does not mean we can relax. We have to get maximum result and qualify in first place.
Viktor Goncharenko, BATE coach
We we were a little disappointed not to be in Group A as we really wanted to get Manchester City to have another taste of English football after last year's matches against Everton. Our group is strong as well, but a soldier who doesn't want to be a general is a bad soldier and we will try to qualify.
Vazha Tarkhnishvili, Sheriff captain
If it wasn't for AZ, this could be a mini-CIS championship. I was a Dynamo Kyiv fan as a kid and I really like their style. I followed Andriy Shevchenko's career with interest and always dreamed of meeting him on the pitch. However, once I am on the pitch I tend to forget about names and just do my best to help my team to succeed. The home game against Dynamo will be a real frenzy as there are a lot of Dynamo fans in Moldova.
Group F: PFC CSKA Moskva, US Città di Palermo, AC Sparta Praha, FC Lausanne-Sport
Leonid Slutski, CSKA coach
Palermo are probably our most dangerous opponents; they have Argentinian international midfielder Javier Pastore, and if a club can make signings like that they must have real ambition. I watched Lausanne's play-off second leg against Lokomotiv Moskva yesterday. They do not have top-class individuals, but they are good defensively and can be very aggressive at home.
Erich Brabec, Sparta defender
I am glad to be going back to Moscow as I played there for Dinamo few years ago, and CSKA's Tomáš Necid is a former team-mate of mine from Slavia. I will have to give him a bell.
Martin Rueda, Lausanne coach
We are still living the dream. Once again we are clear underdogs, but who would have thought we would reach the group stage. We want to continue to spring surprises, to hold our own against these great opponents and win the odd point. We have nothing to lose anyway.
Group G: FC Zenit St. Petersburg, RSC Anderlecht, AEK Athens FC, HNK Hajduk Split
Viktor Fayzulin, Zenit midfielder
Our opponents would saw we were the favourites and we have a really good chance of qualifying. I think we can even win the trophy. If didn't believe that, what would be the sense in taking part?
Roger Vanden Stock, Anderlecht president
Our experience will help but don't forget that Zenit won the final not so long ago, AEK are always in Europe and Hadjuk have a long tradition too. It will be tough but it could have been worse – the groups with Manchester City and Liverpool in are really, really strong.
Dušan Bajević, AEK coach
I honestly believe we were lucky. We avoided some very tough groups. We can do well against the teams we were drawn against, provided we play to the best of our abilities.
Stanko Poklepović, Hajduk coach
Of course we are happy. We did a good job in qualifying so now the path is open for us and we have bigger hunger for success. A draw like this gives us a chance to make another step forward. We have already achieved a success and the next matches will be ideal for giving our young players experience.
Group H: VfB Stuttgart, Getafe CF, Odense BK, BSC Young Boys
Christian Gross, Stuttgart coach
It is a very even group. The two games against Young Boys will be special because the two Degen brothers will play each other.
Toni Muñoz, Getafe sporting director
We must have faith in our own ability no matter who we are facing. We are extremely eager to qualify from this phase and get into the knockout rounds.
Peter Utaka, OB striker
I would have preferred to meet Liverpool; it would have been fantastic for the fans and for us players to play against the absolute best. If we are well prepared and give 110% on the pitch, I think we have a good chance to progress.
Vladimir Petković, Young Boys coach
Stuttgart are certainly a good draw, as are Getafe. Difficult, yes, but also exciting. It is our goal to go through but also to gain experience. Everything is possible.
Group I: PSV Eindhoven, UC Sampdoria, FC Metalist Kharkiv, Debreceni VSC
Balázs Dzsudzsák, PSV forward
My telephone is very busy now. My old club Debrecen are very big in Hungary, with three titles in the last three years, and playing in the Champions League last season. We want to to the next round; that is our goal. Besides that I am happy to play against my old club. I am sure my whole family will be at the match there.
Domenico Di Carlo, Sampdoria coach
We know well Metalist are a physical team like all Eastern European clubs. PSV are a world-class team, have great tradition in Europe and lots of experience. Debrecen played in the Champions League last term.
Marko Dević, Metalist forward
We were lucky if you compare our group with Karpaty's. We have a real chance of qualifying. PSV and Sampdoria are our main rivals, but I think we can compete with them. Nobody took us seriously two years ago and we ended up reaching the last 16.
Group J: Sevilla FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, BV Borussia Dortmund, FC Karpaty Lviv
Antonio Álvarez, Sevilla coach
We don't know Karpaty very well but they eliminated Galatsaray – a big European team – so they obviously have their strengths. We have bad experiences with the so-called 'lesser teams' and I'd prefer to be up against bigger teams who bring that air of pressure and force you to pull out big results. We will have to be on our toes but at the same time our rivals will be a bit put out that they've drawn Sevilla.
Antoine Kombouaré, PSG coach
It's a tight group. Sevilla have former Ligue 1 players Julien Escudé, Mouhamadou Dabo, Didier Zokora, Frédéric Kanouté and Ndri Romaric. I watched their two games against Braga, as if I knew we would meet them. Beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv opened up the doors to the Europa League for us. We must defend our position with pride.
Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund coach
Being drawn against PSG is a dream. Black-and-yellow love in the city of love; what more can you ask for?
Oleg Kononov, Karpaty coach
We have some famous opponents. Each club is well known in Europe for their achievements domestically and in UEFA club competition, but we cannot judge them by their history - we need to analyse their current situation.
Group K: Liverpool FC, FC Steaua Bucureşti, SSC Napoli, FC Utrecht
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain
It's a strong group and I'm certainly looking forward to the games. I'm confident we can get out of the group but it will be tough. The draw has given us some difficult challenges. It's another trophy; we haven't won one for four years now so it's important we put a good show on in all the cup competitions and try to reward the fans with a final.
Ilie Dumitrescu, Steaua coach
It's a very tough group; that's obvious, but who wouldn't want to play at Anfield? This is our biggest challenge.
Ton du Chatinier, Utrecht coach
Everyone was hoping for Liverpool. This is a fantastic draw for Utrecht and our fans.
Walter Mazzarri, Napoli coach
It's a difficult group. Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in Europe and one of the favourites to win the trophy. Steaua also have a huge European tradition. Utrecht is an interesting team expressing the qualities of Dutch football that caught the eye during the World Cup.
Group L: FC Porto, Beşiktaş JK, PFC CSKA Sofia, SK Rapid Wien
Emil Kostadinov, CSKA Sofia sporting director
The teams in this group are very strong. It will be very hard against Porto. I know my old club very well and they are very good tournament battlers. Rapid Wien and Beşiktaş are also very strong.
Alfred Hörtnagl, Rapid sporting director
Beşiktaş have made some good singings, like Real Madrid legend Guti, and there are also a couple of German players there under Bernd Schuster. After our showings last year and this time around, I expect more big performances and wins in Europe.
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