Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs believes a flying start is crucial to his side's hopes in the upcoming Premier League season.
United stumbled in the first few weeks of their last campaign following Louis van Gaal's appointment as manager, picking up just 13 points from their opening 10 matches, which meant they were playing catch up on their top four rivals for much of the rest of the season.
In the end, the Old Trafford club scrambled into a fourth-placed finish and secured a passage back into the Champions League, but Giggs is urging the United players to leap out of the blocks as the 13-time Premier League champions set their sights on higher goals.
"The manager has said it that 13 points from the first 30 wasn't good enough. It is hard when you start like that. You need a better start," Giggs told M.E.N. Sport.
"It is not just these days, Sir Alex Ferguson has said it in the past. You cannot just hope to get going later on you have to be up and ready from day one of the season.
"You saw Chelsea get out of the blocks quickly a few years ago and we had to change our thinking and had to make sure after that we didn't have a slow start.
"All the challengers and rivals will be sharp and ready to go. That is what we have to do. You don't have to be leading the pack at New Year but you have to be close and we certainly have to be closer than we were last season if you want to be there at the very end."
After their opening game against Tottenham on Aug. 8, United will face a trip to Aston Villa before a home game against Newcastle and a trip to Swansea will conclude their opening quartet of fixtures.
Van Gaal's side will also take part in a Champions League group stage qualifier in the opening weeks of the season.