United will bid to win a 20th English league title when the new season kicks off with a visit to West Bromwich Albion on 13 August, but before that there's a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to play games in Boston, Seattle, Chicago, New Jersey and Washington DC.
"We're away for quite a while so it's important we make strides in terms of our fitness levels while we're there," Smalling told ManUtd.com. "The season only begins a few weeks after we return from America so we want to be approaching full fitness by the end of it. A good pre-season is essential if you want to do well.
"Playing games really helps, too - there's a difference between fitness and match fitness, so it's important we play quality opposition on pre-season. We expect that again this year."