St James' Park, Newcastle

Next Game

Newcastle v Man Utd

Wednesday, 04 March 2015, 19:45

Barclays Prem

Old Trafford

Last Game

Man Utd 2 - 0 S'land

Saturday, 28 February 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

United ready for tough start

Chris Smalling believes Manchester United's tough start to the Premier League season could eventually prove to be in their favour.

Last Updated: 17/08/13 at 16:46 Post Comment

Chris Smalling: United defender ready for a tough start to season

Chris Smalling: United defender ready for a tough start to season

The early-season schedule had new United boss David Moyes scratching his head, asking for clarification from officials that the fixtures had been drawn at random.

United travel to Swansea on Saturday before matches against likely title rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, with only a home tie against likely strugglers Crystal Palace that could be deemed anything like an 'easy' game.

But Smalling sees things differently, saying: "We've got some big fixtures at the start of the season but if we can put on some really good performances and pick up a few points it's going to give us a big boost and set us apart from our rivals.

"In one sense, it is good to get them out of the way.

"The Swansea game has been in our minds for a while. Going into the season as champions brings an expectation.

"We're seen as the best but we know we need to show it but we're firing and ready to go. We can't wait for that first whistle."

Competition for places

The new season brings the same challenge for Smalling, who is likely battling with Phil Jones for the right-back slot with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans likely to battle for central roles.

"It does make it tough," he added. "When I first joined, there were a lot of centre-backs and it was the same last season.

"It makes it really competitive because everyone is looking for one of those two spots. It keeps us on our toes that's for sure.

"I just want to stay injury free. Being out was so frustrating. I don't think I played after Easter because of my foot.

"It makes such a difference when you get a proper pre-season under your belt. Without it, you are catching up a little bit. I feel good at the moment. I'm not far off (being 100% match fit) now. I feel confident and it is just about getting that sharpness back."

You can watch Swansea City take on Manchester United on Sky Sports 1HD and Sky Sports 3D from 17:00 on Saturday.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Footer 365

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Boro claim top spot as Derby lose

Middlesbrough became the new Championship leaders as they took advantage of Derby's latest slip by beating Millwall 3-0.

Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Benteke's late show helps end Villa's long wait for a win

Tim Sherwood recorded his first win as Aston Villa boss as Christian Benteke's late penalty helped beat West Brom 2-1.

Mail Box

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

There Are Mitigating Circumstances For LVG

One Mailboxer is admant there are mitigating circumstances to LVG's struggles at Manchester Utd and he offers his four signings for next season...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company