Manchester United are gearing up to get back in action in the Premier League as they prepare for the visit of Brighton, with Graham Potter’s side looking for back-to-back wins against the Reds. Potter has, however, lost all three of his trips to Old Trafford in charge of the Seagulls.
Erik ten Hag’s first pre-season in charge of United has been promising. At least on the pitch, that is. A sizeable difference can already be seen but failures to dominate proceedings against Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano have raised some concerns.
Ten Hag has already argued that United are ready for the challenges ahead and now, Donny van de Beek, who was trialed as a rotational asset over the summer, has echoed that sentiment.
“We can’t wait,” Van de Beek told the official Manchester United website. “We had a tough pre-season and trained so hard and worked so hard.
“We are ready now for the league and everyone is excited about it. I think we’ve managed to get some great work in and, for me, just being back with the team is great.
“Last season and the last few months were difficult because I was injured and I couldn’t train and play a lot. So it’s really nice to be back and training hard.”
United collected most of their points at Old Trafford last season but their record at the Theatre of Dreams was still a shadow of the fortress in the past. Van de Beek has stressed the importance of laying the foundations on home soil.
“It’s really important,” he said on the influence of the home crowd. “If you feel the power from the fans, it gives you a lot more energy and confidence as well.
“The fans mean a lot to us as a group. It’s really important to make a good start on Sunday. We need the points and that will give us a lot of energy and help us grow as a team.”
Only the manager will know for sure but based on what we’ve seen over pre-season, it’s fair to assume that Ten Hag has drilled the players well and he will not have allowed the first matchday to arrive without sufficiently preparing his squad.
Brighton are a difficult nut to crack and are by no means a comfortable start to the season but United will fancy their chances of getting off to the perfect start.
In truth, anything but a win would only pile the pressure on the manager amid the calamities off the pitch.