LONDON (AFP) - In the final moments before Sunday's Community Shield clash against Portsmouth, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will look into his players' eyes and feel reassured that the club's future is in good hands.
Just 10 weeks after the curtain finally came down on a magnificent campaign that included Premier League and Champions League glory, United return to action in the Wembley friendly that marks the start of the English season.
While United's ascent to the pinnacle of domestic and European football in May would be enough to satisfy the appetites of many, Ferguson is driven by a burning desire to establish his club alongside iconic teams like Real Madrid's 1950s vintage and the Ajax legends of the 1970s.
He has no time for players who feel they have fulfilled their destiny and will stare deep into the eyes of each of his charges on Sunday to make sure they still have the same thirst for success as him.
"Soon I will look into the eyes of my players to make sure they have retained the hunger they need to succeed," Ferguson said.
"If success has gone to anyone's head and they show signs they are ready to rest on their laurels, they will soon be on their way."
With fierce competitors like Gary Neville, set to make his first start since March 2007, and Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez and Nemanja Vidic in his line-up, the Scot expects to finish his assessment with an overwhelmingly positive verdict.
"At this particular time, we are not in the best position fitness-wise but it doesn't concern me unduly," Ferguson said.
"There is a great quality in the squad and a great enthusiasm. A lot of them are exhilarated by winning the European Cup."
Ferguson will need every warrior he can find as he heads into the season without his two creative dynamos.
Cristiano Ronaldo's return to United's training ground on Friday signalled the end of his attempt to engineer a move to Real, but the Portugal winger will be sidelined for several weeks after ankle surgery.
Wayne Rooney contracted an illness on United's recent trip to Nigeria that will keep him out of action, while Owen Hargreaves, Louis Saha, Anderson and Nani are all ruled out.
The absence of so many stars could allow Ferguson to hand debuts to Brazilian prodigies Rafael and Fabio Da Silva and Rodrigo Possedon.
United have already beaten Portsmouth once this pre-season but John Utaka believes Sunday's encounter will be a far more high-tempo match than United's 2-1 win in Nigeria.
"It doesn't matter that Manchester United beat us in the last match, they are different games, they need different approaches," Nigerian midfielder Utaka said.
"This will be nothing like that game. Things are different now and we have the chance to win.
"We've had good preparation for the pre-season and now we really want to win this first match at Wembley.
"Of course we will approach this game very differently to Nigeria. We have to be a lot more committed, we have to play and work hard and make sure we do our best.
"They are a very good side, but I believed we would win the FA Cup. If I didn't believe I would not play football, you cannot just give up."
French midfielder Lassana Diarra is a doubt for Portmsouth and, with FA Cup final match-winner Nwankwo Kanu also set to miss out, Peter Crouch should partner fellow England international Jermain Defoe in attack.
Crouch, an 11-million-pounds (21-million-dollars) signing from Liverpool last month, is determined to mark his first significant appearance for his new club with a repeat of his 2006 Community Shield winner against Chelsea.
"I have great memories of that day, scoring the winner against Chelsea, I'm really looking forward to Sunday," Crouch said. "It's a fantastic occasion, like a cup final."
|Williams: We do it for the fans|
|Allen: It will take something special to stop Wales|
|Fearlessness the key to Wales success - Coleman|
|Euro 2016 Diary: Lille highs, training-ground Lows and a Spanish mover and shaker|
|Rejuvenated Ramsey writes Wales´ greatest ever story|
|Germany midfielder Ozil out to end Italy woe|
|Wales 3 Belgium 1: Robson-Kanu, Vokes seal thrilling quarter-final triumph|
|Buffon: It would be offensive to compare myself to Neuer|
|Low not surprised by impressive Italy|
|Germany the most complete side in the world - Conte|
|Watford seal club-record Success deal|
|Swansea takeover ratified by Premier League|
|United move is like Mayweather-Pacquiao fight - Ibrahimovic|
|Father: Pogba wants to play in a better league|
|87 wins in 114 games to seal World Cup, Euro glory - Del Bosque´s Spain successor has big shoes to f|
|Ben Arfa: I was 10 mins away from joining Sevilla|
|Everton seal Stekelenburg deal|
|Pele wants Messi to reconsider international retirement|
|Ibrahimovic completes Manchester United move|
|Wales-Belgium kick-off on schedule despite travel chaos|
|´Manchester, welcome to ZLATAN´ - Fun poked at City over imminent Ibra deal|
|Cuca ´fears´ reported Barca and Inter target Gabriel Jesus getting Brazil call|
|Pjaca denies Inter medical|
|Les Bleus inspiring France´s forgotten youth|
|Le Tissier urges Puel to exercise transfer caution|
|Demichelis and Wright depart Man City|
|Huddlestone pens new Hull deal|
|France v Iceland: Bodvarsson sees Les Bleus as step up from England|
|Wilson signs new Bournemouth contract|
|Euro 2016 exit won´t derail Spain, says Mendieta|
|Newcastle sign Ritchie from Bournemouth|
|Neymar gets new lease of life as Barcelona plot for Messi´s succession|
|Watford hand Deeney new five-year deal to end exit rumours|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Portugal and Poland|
|Kimmich confident Germany can overcome Italy hoodoo|
|Sagna: I don´t want to upset the French public|
|PSG clinch Ben Arfa deal|
|Krychowiak expects PSG deal to be completed shortly|
|Crystal Palace sign Mandanda from Marseille|
|Sagna hails Nolito qualities after City swoop for Spain star|
|Neymar ends exit talk by penning new Barca deal until 2021|
|Kabasele joins Watford on five-year deal|
|Lagerback: Iceland will give France questions to answer|
|Bartomeu sure Messi will renew, but no Luis Enrique talks|
|Hummels reveals Klopp fights|
|Pardew: I want to manage England - but not now|
|De Jong: I haven´t retired from Netherlands duty|
|Palace complete £13m Townsend signing|
|Pato, Falcao and Amelia leave Chelsea|
|Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini - the latest Italy wall looking to deny Germany|
|Nolito´s Manchester City move confirmed|
|Coleman heaps praise on Williams|
|Sanchez reveals gruesome update of ankle injury|
|Ronaldo: We all feel abandoned by retiring Messi|
|Ibrahimovic arrival makes Manchester the ´capital of football´ - Vieira|
|Del Bosque: I sent a message to the whole squad, except Casillas|
|USA to play first friendly against Cuba since 1947|
|Poland boss praises Lewandowski after Euro 2016 exit|
|Fonte: United will regret missing out on Sanches|
|Santos: Portugal should have had a penalty|
|Ranieri: English football is not in crisis|
|Ronaldo dreaming of Euro 2016 glory|
|Nawalka: Poland should be proud of Euro 2016 exploits|
|Santos: Goalless Ronaldo was immense for Portugal|
|No player out of reach for Chinese Super League - chief|
|Fearless Sanches had no nerves in dramatic shootout|
|Portugal through despite Ronaldo off-night|
|´Very happy´ Neymar drops contract hint|
|Poland 1 Portugal 1 (aet, 3-5 pens): Heartbreak for Blaszczykowski as Santos´ men sneak into the sem|
|Del Bosque to resign from Spain role|
|Giggs can be a manager in his own right, insists Round|
|Euro 2016 Diary: Wails for Bale, a grumpy water carrier and the inevitable return of Will Grigg|
|Manchester United agree Galatasaray friendly|
|Hazard must bloom into bona-fide superstar as Eden project comes full circle|
|Hazard excited by ´world class´ Ibrahimovic in the Premier League|
|Hazard determined to make his mark on Lille return|
|Special One and Zlatan: United´s match made in heaven or gamble from hell?|
|Vertonghen to miss rest of Euro 2016 due to torn ankle ligaments|
|Conte has helped me a lot, admits grateful De Sciglio|
|Juve pay tribute to departing Caceres|
|Williams banking on ´band of brothers´ to stop Hazard|
|No lack of desire with England - Lampard|
|Germany v Italy: Kroos calls on Khedira knowledge for Azzurri test|
|Coleman welcomes pressure of ´biggest game since 1958´|
|Ibrahimovic claims he will join Manchester United|
|Sevilla receive ´big offer´ for Krychowiak|
|Bartra seeks to justify Dortmund´s trust|
|Montella vows to bring the good times back to AC Milan|
|Bournemouth bring in striker Mousset|
|Barca confirm Umtiti fee agreed|
|Puel takes charge at Southampton|
|Hulk completes €55.8m Shanghai SIPG switch|
|Bruce focused on Hull and pursuing transfer targets|
|Sinclair agrees Watford move|
|Janssen wants AZ to accept Spurs offer|
|Bartomeu claims five-year Neymar deal imminent|
|Reluctant father figure Evra defends Pogba|
|Boateng declares himself fit to face Italy|
|73 goals, 44 assists: The stats that show why Man Utd want Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan|
|Conte has made Italy proud again – Vieri|
|Evra pledges to respect Iceland after England shock|
|Vrba leaves Czech Republic for Anzhi|
|Bernstein backs Allardyce for England job|
|Rodgers rejects England talk|
|Klose lauds ´unbelievable´ Italy|
|Muller confident Italy´s defence can be breached|
|´Lineker does not know what he is talking about´ - Raiola defends Pogba|
|Morrison opts to stay with West Brom|
|Kempes expects Messi to return to international football|
|´Leave Messi alone!´ - Maradona|
|Evra suffers training injury|
|Iceland´s Viking chant terrified England - Shilton|
|Ballack doubts Italy can repeat Spain performance|
|Caparros hoping Del Bosque continues as Spain coach|
|Falcao targeting Ligue 1 top scorer award|
|Maradona: England continue to be over-hyped|
|Santos: You talk about Ronaldo because he is great|
|James Rodriguez is an ´average player´ - Stoichkov|
|Mooy moves from Melbourne to Manchester City|
|Copa America champions Chile set to face Euro 2016 winner|
|Guardiola ´relaxed´ ahead of renewing Mourinho rivalry|
|Simeone on post-Champions League final comments: I spoke heatedly|