Thursday 19 June 2014 09:36, UK
Former Old Trafford favourite Dwight Yorke thinks new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will be delighted with the opening fixtures that he has been handed next season.
United begin their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea before away fixtures against Sunderland and Burnley before welcoming QPR to Old Trafford.
But Yorke believes Van Gaal will have to strengthen his squad significantly if United are to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title.
“You want a home game in your first game after being installed as Manchester United manager and he’s managed to get that against Swansea,” Yorke told Sky Sports News.
“I’m sure he will be excited and in general I think he will be delighted at the fact that he has got Swansea, Sunderland and Burnley.
“I think that they want to make sure that they try and win the Premier League next season and it’s going to be exciting to see who he brings into the football club.
“We’ve seen players leave the football club, we haven’t seen any player come in yet and until they do that I don’t think they have enough in their locker to really be competing with the likes of (Manchester) City and Chelsea, even Liverpool at this stage.”
Former Manchester City midfielder Mike Summerbee is happy with his old side’s opening run of games despite Manuel Pellegrini’s men coming up against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in their first five matches.
“We’ll just continue in the same vein that we did at the end of last season,” Summerbee said. “We’ll get on with the games and play them. Whether you play against Chelsea or Arsenal you’ve got to play them (at some stage) so to play them early on is not too bad.”
Ronald Koeman faces a difficult-looking his first game as Southampton manager, away at Liverpool, but the club’s executive director Les Reed is not fazed by the trip to Anfield.
“We had a great outing up there last year and I’m sure the players will look forward to that,” Reed said.
“I don’t mind what I consider to be the tough opening fixtures because it gives everyone a real focus and a challenge.
“I think we’ll take that positively and hopefully we’ll come away with the same result that we did last time (a 1-0 win).”
West Ham were handed a London derby at home to Tottenham while Arsenal were also have an all-capital clash at home to Crystal Palace.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey tweeted: “Seeing the fixtures come out is making me excited for the first game at home against Palace!”
Former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie thinks Arsenal will be much closer to the Premier League summit next season.
“They are going to add some players clearly with the budget they have and it’s very important they do,” Dowie said.
“I think it could be a very exciting season. You hate to say if this is going to be their season but I do think they have an opportunity.”
Championship clubs also discovered their fixtures next season and Steve Evans, manager of newly–promoted Rotherham who travel to Derby on the first day, says every game will be huge for them next year.
“I think when you look at the size and the detail of the club’s in the Championship we genuinely don’t think there is going to be a Saturday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday that we are going to think is not going to be a big, big match for us,” he said.
“We’ve obviously got to host the clubs that have come from the Premier League the Fulhams the Cardiffs the Norwichs they’re incredible clubs.
“And of course we have got the big ones that are local to us - our rivals Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United are not too far away and of course Nottingham Forest with Stuart Pearce’s arrival.
“It’s just an incredible experience for us.”