Nani has claimed he will be inspired by the intense battle for first-team spots at Manchester United this season. The arrival of Ashley Young from Aston Villa has provided immediate competition for the winger, who with Antonio Valencia sidelined for most of last term, was the only orthodox wide-man at Sir Alex Ferguson's disposal.
Danny Welbeck has operated on the flanks and is now available after a successful loan spell at Sunderland, whilst Mame Biram Diouf was picked there for the first half of yesterday's 3-1 win over
However, Nani, who scored the visitors' final goal at Soldier Field, is adamant he does not intend to take a backward step. "The competition is good," he said. "It inspires you. If you have competition, you will train harder and push yourself in every game. At Manchester United, you have to be ready every time you go on the field."
The 24-year-old contributed nine goals and 18 assists - the highest in the league - to
In the aftermath of that loss, and with Ferguson looking at how best to strengthen a team that was so badly outplayed at Wembley, there were plenty happy to write off Nani's Red Devils career completely. But he returned for the current five-match tour of the United States, and appears in the right frame of mind to provide an even greater contribution this time around.
"Of course I can get better," he said. "That is what I am trying to do. It is not easy but it is what I look to achieve every year. If I can get more goals and more assists, that will be good for the team and help us in all the competitions we are going for."
Nani believes improvement will be required too. For, whilst
"In every season it is important to start well," he said. "But it is even more the case now because this season will be much harder than the last couple. All the teams are getting stronger and trying to be much better. We have to match that."
Although yesterday's first-half showing was the least convincing of
Sir Alex Ferguson retracted an initial thought that De Gea was responsible for
The same is already true of Javier Hernandez, who is expected to join
"It was tough for him last season but over time, Javier will mature and get better," said Ferguson. "He is improving technically and now he has had a good season behind him in a tough division. We are setting targets for him. We thought he would get 20 last season and he did. He might do even better this time."
It will be a guide though, with Nani convinced