Nicky Butt says the challenge presented by pre-season games is improving all the time and he expects United to be well tested in their tour match against the Australian A-League All Stars next summer.
The Reds will travel to Sydney on 20 July for the only tour game in Australia on Tour 2013, presented by Aon. And the former United midfielder believes it will prove to be a good run-out for Sir Alex's men in their bid to get fit for the 2013/14 campaign.
"You've definitely noticed the improvement [in the quality of opposition] and how much more professional they are and how much better they are technically and physically," he told footballaustralia.com.au. "In my time, and maybe before my time, you'd go on pre-season tours and you could tell they weren't professional and they weren't fit.
"But now you can see how fit, how professional and how committed the guys you are playing against are becoming. It makes it harder, but equally it makes it better because these are the games you need to help get you fit and ready for the start of the season."
And Butt is pleased to see an ever-increasing competitive edge in tour matches.
"It's good we get challenged in that way," he adds. "If we hold back in our tackles and our committment, we get shown up. We're all professionals and we've got our individual pride and we want to go out and win every game.