Former Manchester City captain Richard Dunne has stressed the importance of his old club getting off to a quick start in the new season.
The Premier League fixtures were announced today but for the opening weekend the City and Manchester United players will be spectators with their respective opening ties, against Aston Villa at home and Burnley away, postponed due to both clubs playing in Europe until last weekend.
City were knocked out of the Champions League in a 3-1 quarter-final defeat to Lyon and will have to wait until the weekend of 19 September to put that result behind them in a very tricky season opener against Europa League quater-finalists Wolves.
"I'm sure the players are probably disappointed they're not on the first day of the season and you don't want to be playing catch up early on in the season," Dunne told Sky Sports News.
"It is a difficult start when they do get going, they had great difficulty against Wolves last year, losing the two games so it'll be a tough start for them but they'll want to get the disappointment of the Champions League out of the way as quick as they can and I'm sure they'll be ready to go once the season does start."
The bar for winning the title has been set very high by the current champions Liverpool who claimed it with 99 points and City whose two last title wins were earned with 98 points in the 2018/19 season and a record 100 points in the 2017/18 season.
In those title winning seasons both clubs got off to a flyer and Dunne thinks that his former club needs to make sure that they do not drop off the early pacesetters.
"We've seen it for the last three or four years now in the Premier League and City have done it a couple of times where they've just gone on great runs and nobody's been able to catch them, said Dunne. "The same with Liverpool last year, they were exceptional and kept winning every game.
"It must be heartbreaking for the team chasing when the team ahead of you is winning and winning and winning. So it's important that City are right up there from day one and they keep the pressure on Liverpool or Manchester United or Chelsea, whoever is going for the league next season.
"Each game is tough, they saw that last season, they lost more games probably than they have previously so they know each game is going to be tough but they have to go and try win each one."
If City are to keep the pressure on the champions Liverpool they will need to improve is defensively. Pep Guardiola's team looked weak at the back in the defeat to Lyon and conceded 35 league goals last season compared to 23 and 27 in their most recent title winning campaigns.
They have signed Dutch centre-back Nathan Ake so far in the close season and while Dunne believes they could do with another more experienced campaigner in that area, he feels that the core of the defence wasn't the only problem.
"I don't think you can pinpoint it [looking] directely at the centre-halves all the time. There's defensive minded lapses and they might come from a midfielder at times," said Dunne.
"It's difficult because City have so much of the ball, to switch from that attacking mindset to defensive mindset so quickly is tough and they do get caught out from time to time.
"You come and you watch the games and you look at them and you just think, they're amazing, if they could just change those little lapses they would be unstoppable but it happens so maybe they do need somebody. Just that little bit of experience. Someone who can organise a defence is as important as they player."