Michael Carrick believes “things are on the up” at Manchester United ahead of the club’s opening game of the season against West Ham.
United start their Premier League campaign at home on Sunday when the Hammers travel to Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
The Red Devils have failed to mount a serious challenge for the title since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013 but club captain Carrick insists expectations are high this season under Jose Mourinho.
“It is difficult to say what our chances in the league are but we are setting out to be on top,” said Carrick.
“We have certainly improved the squad, we look stronger, we are a year further ahead with the manager and his staff, we are in a better place than we were last year, so things are on the up.
“For large spells of last season, we felt we should have been higher up in the league than we were and performances certainly warranted that for large periods as well. But it is too easy to sit here and say that.
“We need to improve because we ended up a distance away from the top. Hopefully this season we will be right up there challenging.”
United have spent heavily this summer, signing Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic for a combined fee of over £150m, as they look to challenge both domestically and in the Champions League.
United enjoyed success in the cup competitions last term, winning both the Europa League and League Cup, but Carrick insists the club must improve on last season’s sixth-place finish in the Premier League.
“The league is special because it is such a tough division to win,” said Carrick.
“When you come out on top it is an unbelievable feeling to know you are the best team in the country, and you have gone through all sorts of things along the way to win that.
“Cup competitions are special because it is a slightly different feeling. Winning a trophy is winning a trophy and the feeling you get from it is incredible.
“There are obviously bigger competitions than others, but we will certainly be fighting on all fronts to win as much as we can.”