Manchester – Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s return to the UEFA Champions League after a one-year absence ended in disappointment after Sami Hyypiä’s side lost 4-2 at English champions Manchester United FC on Tuesday evening.

Following the defeat, captain Simon Rolfes and striker Stefan Kießling both agreed die Werkself must improve if they are to qualify from Group A of Europe’s premier club competition, which also includes FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad de Futbol.

More consistency

Rolfes, whose 55th-minute goal had levelled the score at 1-1 following Wayne Rooney’s opener, says Leverkusen need to show more consistency during matches if they are to reach the latter stages of the competition. “We can play a lot better than we did tonight,” said the 31-year-old.

“We played well in parts, but we didn’t manage to maintain that level of performance throughout the 90 minutes,” Rolfes continued. “Had we been able to do so, we may have caused Manchester United a few more problems. We were in with a shout at 2-1, but we brought the third goal upon ourselves. We can’t afford to make mistakes like that.”

”A different level”

Kießling, who has four Bundesliga goals to his name so far this season, echoed the thoughts of his skipper. “We misplaced a lot of passes, which isn’t really like us,” said the striker, who struggled to impose himself against the United backline.

“They managed to create several chances against us. Having played in the Europa League last year, we’re used to playing European football, but the Champions League is a completely different level and we have to try and be focused over the entire match.”

”We worked hard”

Hyypiä, meawhile, preferred to focus on the positives following the defeat. “We can learn a lot from today. We worked very hard, but we could have been better in possession," said the head coach. "If you are unable to control the ball, you are going to have to defend for large periods of the match."

Hyypiä now faces the challenge of continuing Leverkusen's impressive start to the domestic season when his side travel to 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 6.