Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has warned his team they cannot afford a slow start to the English Premier League season.
United, Manchester City and Chelsea each enter the 2013/14 campaign under new management, with David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho taking the helm at each club.
The reigning champions will have precious little time to find their feet under Moyes, with the first month of the season throwing up league clashes with Chelsea (home), Liverpool (away) and Manchester City (away).
Carrick, speaking in Sydney where United are preparing to take on an A-League All-Star line-up on Saturday, believes the club must hit the ground running once they get down to serious business.
“This week (in Sydney), it’s important because then we go on to quite a bit of flying after that,” Carrick said.
“It’s huge, the start of the season we have. It’s important we’re ready for that, we can’t afford a slow start this year, so these few weeks are vital for us.”
Carrick said Moyes’ approach to training is quite different to Sir Alex Ferguson’s, with the 50-year-old Scot having a lot of input into the sessions.
“The manager is hands-on in training,” Carrick said.
“He’s a lot different to Sir Alex in that sense.
“He (Ferguson) tended to take a step back and let the coaches deal with it, whereas David Moyes tends to be right in the thick of it, which is good.
“It creates an intensity and everyone has responded to that.”
Carrick said the entire squad had been impressed by the energy levels Moyes has brought to the job.
“The tour has been really good so far and there is a great atmosphere around the place,” Carrick said.
“The manager has brought that in. He’s enthusiastic and energetic and intense with his work, and that’s rubbed off on everyone.
“Training has been good and there is a huge focus and a good feel around the place.
“I’m looking forward to this week especially, it’s a big week really (for) training, because without the flying this week we’ve got a bit of time to prepare and get the work in.”