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The hard work has already begun for the United squad after they reported back for pre-season training on Wednesday.

Ryan Giggs joined up with his team-mates - minus the Euro 2008 contingent - back at Carrington for the start of a rigorous regime ahead of the 2008/09 campaign.

The Welshman enjoyed a six-week rest after last season's triumphant exploits, including a relaxing break with his family in Portugal. But he admits that's soon forgotten once the squad's punishing pre-season schedule begins.

"Obviously last season ended brilliantly for the team and for myself, and it's good to be back, but I'm not really looking forward to pre-season training," he told

"Wednesday was just testing to see where your fitness is at. Thursday is another treadmill fitness test which will be quite hard, and that will start to build things up. I'm not really looking forward to it, but you've just got to get through it haven't you?

"Long distance running gets easier as you get older, I think, it's just the quicker stuff that is quite hard. But you've done it all before and just use your experience to get through it."

The Reds have a hectic schedule of matches over the coming few weeks. A United XI will travel to Aberdeen on 12 July, before the first team squad head to South Africa for the Vodacom Challenge. The trip will encompass three matches against local sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates (United will play one of them twice).

On their way home to Manchester, the squad will stop off in Nigeria on 27 July where they will face Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth, whom they will also be up against at Wembley in the Community Shield on 10 August.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's testimonial clash with Espanyol at Old Trafford takes place on 2 August and that will be followed by two more friendlies - first up a trip to London Road to take on Sir Alex's son Darren and his Peterborough side. The Reds then entertain Juventus at OT on 6 August.{F9E570E6-407E-44BC-800F-4A3110258114}&newsid=6613121&page=2

manutd004 said:
In pre-season, I'm expecting nothing more than good performances, physical and match fitness getting back and hopefully no injuries.
That's all I ever ask for, just to get the players used to playing football
again and also for any new signings to get a run out with the team.
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