Newly appointed Manchester United captain Michael Carrick has urged his teammates to avoid making the same mistakes in the Premier League this season.
Jose Mourinho’s men endured a frustrating campaign last year in which they dominated sides at home only to continually struggle for composure in front of goal.
Man United were close to third spot by March but a litany of injuries and the Europa League taking priority ultimately saw them slump to sixth spot by May.
And Carrick, speaking to United Review, has called on his teammates to learn from the errors that deprived them of being near the summit last season.
“It is difficult to say what our chances in the league are but we are setting out to be on top,” he said. “We have certainly improved the squad, we look stronger, we are a year further ahead with the manager and his staff, we are in a better place than we were last year, so things are on the up.
“For large spells of last season, we felt we should have been higher up in the league than we were and performances certainly warranted that for large periods as well. But it is too easy to sit here and say that. We need to improve because we ended up a distance away from the top. Hopefully this season we will be right up there challenging.
“The league is special because it is such a tough division to win. When you come out on top it is an unbelievable feeling to know you are the best team in the country, and you have gone through all sorts of things along the way to win that.
“Cup competitions are special because it is a slightly different feeling. Winning a trophy is winning a trophy.”
The key issue that continues to loom over Mourinho’s can be conveyed in just one word: goals.
Where are they going to come from? Romelu Lukaku’s introduction is, of course, a big step in the right direction. United need to be more clinical against lesser sides and fewer players have done that better over the last few seasons than the Belgian. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return promises to have a galvanising effect but doubt surrounds now nine months on the sidelines will impact on his performances.
But who else? The likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marouane Fellaini simply didn’t do enough in front of goal last season. And if United are to compete for the title these players cannot draw blanks for much longer.