Man Utd's Van der Sar expects tough Kuszczak challenge

Edwin van der Sar knows he faces stiff competition to maintain his No1 status at Manchester United.

With Poland international Tomasz Kuszczak breathing down his neck, Van der Sar told manutd.com: "You always have to be at your best at United. If you are not, someone else is always ready to take your place.

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"I did not have the same consistency at the end of last season as I had in the previous campaign. I don't know why.

"But when you make mistakes, you look at how to improve and then get on with it."

With United's major rivals all strengthening, van der Sar is more convinced than ever that the Red Devils need to make a fast start in order to safeguard their title.

Away trips to big-spending duo Portsmouth and Manchester City follow the Reading encounter, so van der Sar knows it will not be easy.

Nevertheless, nine points in the first week would send out a sign of strength by the men from Old Trafford.

"We must make sure we get off to a good start, like we did last season," he said.

"We have three games in the first week and it is important we do well in them otherwise we can end up under pressure straight away.

"From then on, the team will grow and the new players will learn what is expected of them."

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