Ryan Giggs has warned his Manchester United team-mates that if the club are to clinch a third successive Premier League title they must match the hunger and determination of a revitalised Chelsea.
The new campaign is only one game old but Giggs has thrown down the gauntlet to his team-mates after Chelsea, inspired by new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, opened up an early two-point lead over the Red Devils.
While United's title defence began with a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Newcastle Untied rivals Chelsea opened with a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Portsmouth and Giggs believes it is essential that the club must be ready to match the Blues' intensity.
'Chelsea did not win the Premier League last year,' Giggs told Sky Sports News. 'I have been in that position. You are hungry and determined, and you want to win it, simple as that. We have got to match their desire'.
However, Giggs, who has won the Premier League 10 times under Sir Alex Ferguson, believes United will answer his call, adding: 'We have players at the club who have tasted success over the last couple of years and want more.'
United face a tricky start to the season with testing away games at Anfield and Stamford Bridge in September and Chelsea's two-point advantage could grow wider by the time United themselves face Pompey at Fratton Park on Monday with Chelsea facing Wigan Athletic 24-hours earlier on Sunday.
Meanwhile, United defender Mikael Silvestre is closing in on a surprise move to Arsenal for a transfer fee in the region of £750,000.
The 31-year-old defender is seeking a move from Old Trafford in a bid to secure first team football; Manchester City and Sunderland were understood to have been leading the chase for the former France international's service, until Arsenal stepped in.
A move from Old Trafford to the Emirates would be a surprise given the two clubs' recent history of animosity, but relations between Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are thought to have thawed and the United boss is not expected to block a move despite the Gunners being a potential title rival.
Not surprisingly Silvestre, who joined United in 1999 from Inter Milan, is expected to accept Arsenal's approach as the Gunners offer the Champions League football while Sunderland are not in a European competition and Man City are on the verge of a humiliating exit from the UEFA Cup to Danish minnows FC Midtjylland.