Manchester United will have an early opportunity for some retribution against Barcelona when they take on the European champions during pre-season, and Chris Smalling can't wait.
The Red Devils will face the Catalan giants in Washington DC on July 30 as part of their American tour, in what is being billed as a re-match of May's Champions League final.
Barca ran out 3-1 winners then and, although Smalling did not play on that fateful night at Wembley, the 20-year-old is desperate to strike a blow against Pep Guardiola's side.
“It’s going to be a great climax to the tour and a great occasion for all the fans,” the defender told the official Manchester United website.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it – I’ve had the chance to play against some top teams during my time at United already and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“This tour game against Barcelona might only be a friendly but you always relish playing against the best players and this will be no different.”
A pre-season ‘friendly’ against arguably the greatest team of the last 20 years is ideal preparation for the defence of United's Barclays Premier League crown.
And, with games against New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire and the MLS All-Stars also on the horizon, United will be primed come August 13.
“We’re away for quite a while so it’s important we make strides in terms of our fitness levels while we’re there,” added Smalling.
“The season only begins a few weeks after we return from America so we want to be approaching full fitness by the end of it. A good pre-season is essential if you want to do well.
“Playing games really helps, too – there’s a difference between fitness and match fitness, so it’s important we play quality opposition on pre-season. We expect that again this year.”
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