Rio Ferdinand has stated that the opening fixtures for Manchester United are the toughest yet.
The Red Devils take on Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the first six games of this year's Premier League campaign.
The Manchester United defender will be going into his 11th season this year and has claimed that this is the hardest set of fixtures he has come across at the start of the season.
Ferdinand has also said that United need to be playing in full force right from the start if they are going to retain the league title for a second time in a row.
Ferdinand told ManUtd.com: "It focuses us, definitely. There’s no easing our way into the league this year. We’ve got to be ready to go from the off.
"We’ve got some big games in there but Swansea away is a really tough place to start.
"We’ve got to make sure we’re ready for the start of the season because our first five games are probably the toughest that I’ve ever seen.
"With a new manager coming in, we’re going to be focused anyway, with people looking to prove themselves and places up for grabs.
"There’s an excitement in the squad and that will build as the start of the season gets closer."
United's campaign could be even tougher if Wayne Rooney joins Chelsea this summer as the Red Devils play the Blues in the second game of the season.
It was announced earlier today that the west London club had a bid rejected.
The club stated: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm that yesterday it made a written offer to Manchester United for the transfer of Wayne Rooney.
"Although the terms of the offer are confidential, for avoidance of doubt and contrary to what is currently being briefed to the press in Sydney, the proposed purchase price does not include the transfer or loan of any players from Chelsea to Manchester United."
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