Although there are over 4,000 miles between Miami and the North West of England, Manchester United stars Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans believe the International Champions Cup final with Liverpool will retain all of its traditional intensity and fervour.
The Reds finished top of Group A thanks to three consecutive victories over AS Roma, Inter Milan and reigning European champions Real Madrid. Those results set up a showpiece finale at the Sun Life Stadium, where Brendan Rodgers’ Merseysiders will provide the opposition.
Although the match is officially a friendly, both players acknowledge that encounters with Liverpool are far from cordial affairs and neither is prepared to take the game lightly. Fletcher, who hopes to recover from a slight calf injury in time for kick-off, says United expect to end the tour with a win.
“It’s Manchester United versus Liverpool, it doesn't matter if it's pre-season,” the Scot told reporters. “That game takes care of itself and we want to go on and win. It's disappointing where we finished in the league last season and, as a result of that, Liverpool, City and Chelsea all finished above us. It was disappointing and, this season, we all want to show what we are capable of. Hopefully we can do that.”
Expanding on the players’ renewed confidence on tour, Fletch said: “We are just enjoying it. The manager expects a lot from us and he thinks we have got the ability to do it. He demands a lot, but the players have responded and we are enjoying playing in a new system and under him.
“We have got a fantastic team spirit. We were talking about it the other night among ourselves - we are all pulling in the right direction and we all want the best for Manchester United. We realise some experienced players have gone and it's up to us to come together to get us back up there.”
Evans, who is preparing for his eighth season in the first-team, is similarly motivated by facing Liverpool and cannot wait for kick-off in Miami. The Northern Irishman is also