Ex-Reds look forward to a fresh start

Friday 17 June 2022 11:00

Following the release of the 2022/23 Premier League fixtures, former Manchester United players Ben Thornley and Quinton Fortune shared their thoughts on the Reds' schedule and key clashes.

Brighton & Hove Albion will head to Old Trafford on Sunday 7 August in our curtain-raiser, as we begin a new season - and a new dawn - under Erik ten Hag.

Fortune believes that the visit of Graham Potter’s side is favourable for United.

“It’s a good fixture,” he said. “We are playing at home, [we have] a new manager. [It is a] fresh start and exciting times, so I’m expecting us to win.”

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However, Thornley is wary of the Seagulls after they defeated the Reds 4-0 at the Amex Stadium as recently as last month, in last season’s penultimate fixture.

“We know that Brighton are a talented team with some very good players,” he explained. “On their day they are a real handful.

“Yes, we could have had tougher fixtures but that will probably be still in some people’s minds that we only played them so recently. We’ll have to be really on our guard because Brighton have got players that can spring surprises and they certainly did when we played them there in May.”

The fixtures that many United supporters look for when the list is revealed are the home and away games against our historic rivals Liverpool. In 2022/23, we welcome Jurgen Klopp’s side to Old Trafford just three matches in.

It will be the earliest league meeting between the two teams since 1972, and Thornley believes playing the Merseysiders at the beginning of the season is beneficial.

He said: “[To play Liverpool on the] third game in, it’s really unusual. I don’t think any team is going to be in their full stride within the first six games of the season.

“I think the third game in is not a bad time to play them at all, especially here [at Old Trafford].”

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The return match on Merseyside will be in early March 2023, with Thornley describing it as “the most difficult fixture for anybody competing in the Premier League.”

And while Fortune agrees that visiting Anfield is a daunting prospect, he believes that United should be positive going into this match - and the new season.

He said: “When you play for Manchester United these are the fixtures you look forward to. It should be the same every season.

“Whatever Liverpool have done in the last season is in the past. It’s a fresh start [with a] new manager.

“They [our players] have got to change that mindset about what’s happened in the past [and rediscover] the positivity of playing with each other, together; that family feeling of Manchester United.”

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October stands out on the new fixture list as a particularly challenging period, with United due to face Man City, Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham. Some users on social media have even referred to it as ‘the month of death’.

Thornley assessed: “We’ve got six league games, three Europa League games I think, and maybe a Carabao Cup fixture.

“October is going to be absolutely massive, and we need a squad to be able to compete in that.”

 

Despite the challenge October presents, Fortune looks forward to seeing how Ten Hag’s side fares across these fixtures.

“If you don’t get excited about that then you’re at the wrong club. This is what you want.

“Every single team you face as a Manchester United player will try and put you down. It’s like a cup final [for them].”

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