Michael Carrick believes it is imperative Manchester United make a flying start to the season.
United face a demanding fixture list at the beginning of the campaign, with David Moyes' first Premier League match coming away at Swansea and being followed by Chelsea's visit to Old Trafford.
The defending champions also have to visit rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in their first five league games and midfielder Carrick believes United must ensure they are not off the pace by the end of September.
And he feels their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia is vital to ensure they hit the ground running.
"This week, it's important because then we go on to quite a bit of flying start after that – it's huge the start of the season we have," he said at a press conference in Sydney. "It's important we're ready for that, we can't afford a slow start this year, so these few weeks are vital for us."
Carrick thinks new manager David Moyes' dedication has been infectious in his first few weeks at the club and has noted the differences between the new regime and Sir Alex Ferguson's hands-off approach.
"The manager is enthusiastic and energetic and intense with his work, and that's rubbed off on everyone," added the midfielder.
"Training has been good and there is a huge focus and a good feel around the place.
"He's a lot different to Sir Alex in that sense - he tended to take a step back and let the coaches deal with it, whereas David Moyes tends to be right in the thick of it which is good. It creates an intensity and everyone has responded to that."