Monk got the better of Louis van Gaal twice last season as Swansea completed the league double over United for the first time, two of the real low points in the Dutchman’s first campaign as his Old Trafford tenure took time to make an impact.
But, ahead of their reunion at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, Monk feels Van Gaal is moving in the right direction after further investment this summer and believes they must produce their “best performance of the season” to beat United this time around.
“They can win it with the squad they’ve got after the amount of money they’ve spent,” Monk said.
“With the quality they have, they should be competing for the title. You can see that they are going to be right up there contending for it and I think that’s probably the minimum standard for Manchester United.
“They had a transition period last season with the new manager coming in. They’ve seen his way or working and this season they look a stronger outfit.”
United have yet to concede in the Premier League so far this season with clean sheets kept against Tottenham, Aston Villa and Newcastle.
But they have scored only twice in picking up seven points from those games and, despite a comprehensive Champions League victory over Belgium’s Club Brugge in midweek, the jury remains out on whether United have found the right attacking formula to trouble top-flight defences.
“They’ll be looking to carry on the momentum they’ve started the season with, so it’s important we battle our way into it and show our quality as well,” Monk added.
“So far we’ve managed to produce a good level of performance and it’s important we keep the standard we’ve been setting.
“But we have to produce probably our best performance of the season to make sure we come away with the right result.”
Wayne Rooney ended his 10-game United goal drought with a hat-trick in Bruges but Monk said it was no surprise.
“When strikers aren’t scoring or going through periods they’re not scoring they’ll always get questioned, especially at the level, the type of player he is and what he’s done in his career,” Monk said.
“But there’s never any danger that a player like that will stop scoring goals. He’s done it throughout his career. He scored some good goals in midweek and he’ll be confident.
“It’s something we have to nullify and do the best we can to stop them adding more goals to their tally, but the important thing for us is to impose ourselves on the game.”