Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville believes that it has been a frustrating summer for Manchester United, who he thinks will be approaching the pre-season as the beginning of their redemption.
The Red Devils were knocked out of the Champions League group stage last season and were subsequently dominated by Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.
Their domestic cup campaigns were forgettable and the Premier League title challenge went all the way to the final match day, only for them to fall short to bitter rivals City on goal differential.
England stars such as Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young then went on to suffer Euro 2012 heartbreak, and Neville knows that despite the strengths of English champions Manchester City and European champions Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will be ready to fight in the coming season.
“I think the lads who haven’t been away on international duty will be loving being back at Carrington. They won’t come back out of shape, though. The majority of them will have started doing their own individual fitness programs a few weeks ago. You can bet they would have had a frustrating summer, though, after not winning any trophies last season,” Neville stated in an interview with ManUtd.com.
He added: “The beauty of football is that you start afresh each year with a clean slate. United now have an opportunity to put things right. The challenge this season is always the same: it’s to win the Premier League, do well in the cups and do well in the Champions League.
“That challenge never changes. But, obviously, when you don’t win anything you have an added incentive because people start to question the team and wonder if the empire is crumbling. The manager and the players have had to cope with all that before, so this challenge is something they’ll all be looking forward to.”
United’s pre-season tour will involve stops in Africa and China before a return home for the Premier League opener at Goodison Park on August 18.