Ryan Giggs is expecting a tough opening fixture as Manchester United travel to Everton in tonight’s Premier League clash, and Rio Ferdinand will not feature after picking up a groin injury.
The Reds veteran – back from a ‘long summer’ of captaining Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics – insists that last season’s title heartbreak has been put behind them and they are ready to fight for their crown.
Sir Alex Fergsuon’s side travel to Goodison Park looking to equal their noisy neighbours winning, although unorthodox, start to the season but are forced to play without former England captain Ferdinand.
“Being away in your first game is always tough so we’ll have to be up for it," Giggs said.
"We've had a decent record there over the years – they’re always good games which can be pretty quick and quite feisty which adds to the atmosphere.
“David Moyes’ teams always work hard and you know you’re in for a battle and that you’ll have to work harder than them to win. We can talk about the quality players we’ve got in our squad but ultimately you need to work hard and make sure you start the season off well.”
“It’s certainly a good test to begin with and everyone is looking forward to it,” added Giggs.
“The manager likes to lay down his ambitions for the season and look in the players’ eyes to see if they’re ready for the challenge and we are. It was a long summer and we can’t wait to get going and put things right this time.”
Ferguson will have to wait again to see his preferred centre back partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Ferdinand defend the Reds goal as the latter picked up a groin strain in training.
Old Trafford medical staff are confident that he will regain his fitness in time for Saturday’s tie against Fulham, but the injury is yet another blow to the Reds backline as Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones await Ferdinand’s arrival on the sidelines.
The 33-year-old was left enraged at picking up a problem and Tweeted: “P****d off doesn't get close to how I feel at the moment. Sake.”
Michael Carrick – fresh from his return to England – is set to reclaim his role in the centre of defence for United.