Nemanja Matic has told his new Manchester United teammates they can send a warning to Europe's biggest clubs by beating Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
United will be back in the Champions League next season courtesy of their Europa League triumph in May, but first they face European champions Madrid in Macedonia on Tuesday -- just two weeks after their International Champions Cup clash in California, which the Red Devils won on penalties.
And Matic, who made his debut in the 2-1 win over Sampdoria in Dublin on Wednesday following his arrival from Chelsea, says the game is a chance to show that United are back.
Asked if United can make a statement, Matic, who can make his competitive debut in Skopje, said: "Of course. Every game is a new challenge and it is going to be the same against them.
"It is a big game when you play against Real Madrid and we are happy that we can compare our qualities with them. As you know they won the Champions League and they showed they are one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it will for sure be an interesting game for us, very hard but we will be ready."
Had United manager Jose Mourinho got his way, he would have paired Matic with Paul Pogba in midfield at Chelsea in the summer of 2015.
He has finally got his way, though, after spending £35 million to bring Matic to Old Trafford.
The Serbia international has only had two days training and a 45-minute run-out with Pogba, but he is already excited about what the pair can do together.
He said: "As you know already, he is an amazing player, he is a very important player for this club and he is still young and he can still improve and he is going to be important for us.
"I cannot say what is our plan because then every club will know what we are going to do but to be part of the team with Paul, I am very happy to play with him, and also the other players. We will see this season what we can do but I'm sure with hard work we can be one of the favourites for the title.
"Manchester is a big club and the title is the biggest target. Manchester needs to be in a position to always fight for the title because Manchester in their history, with all the titles they have, I think it's natural for them to fight for the title."
With his future up in the air, Matic was forced to train alone at Chelsea this summer.
The first half against Sampdoria on Wednesday was his first action of preseason, although it did not stop the 29-year-old impressing the near 50,000 United fans inside the Aviva Stadium.
After winning six of their seven preseason games, United's campaign starts with the UEFA Super Cup and West Ham's visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Aug. 13.
Matic added: "It's not the same when you do all the preseason with the team, but I will be ready soon. I will work hard in the next few days so I will be OK.
"I am happy to make my debut in front of our supporters and thanks to my team mates, to the staff, I adapted very quickly to the team and I hope I will help the team achieve many things."