Ryan Bennett admits Wolves must be on their toes to stop Manchester United tonight.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are seeking to make it a hat-trick of wins against United after beating them 2-1 twice last season, knocking them out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage before repeating the scoreline in the Premier League two weeks later. United have put their faith in youth up front this summer, selling Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan for £74m to allow Marcus Rashford, 21, 23-year-old Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, who is just 17, more game time. Despite his tender years, Rashford has already made 171 senior appearances, with 47 goals. Two of those came in their 4-0 opening day victory against Chelsea, when Martial and £15m new signing Daniel James was also on target, making light of the loss of Lukaku.
Bennett believes Wolves will have to concentrate just as much as last season to stop United getting forward. “They are different players. Lukaku is strong and quick and it’s going to be more about the way the team is set up,” said Bennett. “They will be set up a little differently this year, set up on the counter and looking to exploit the pace they have got. They are always able to nick one if you do give it away, so we know it’s going to be tough.”
United started the season with a 4-0 win over Chelsea and Bennett isn’t surprised at their start. The 29-year-old defender is expecting a busy evening. “Not really, especially if you look at their team, with the pace they’ve got going forward now,” he said. “They can hit you on the counter attack and the players they have in midfield with the range of passing is always going to be dangerous. They are expected to come out and attack and got a big win against Chelsea.”
United finished sixth, one place and nine points above Wolves last season, which is regarded as a bad campaign by their high standards. Bennett knows the Old Trafford giants will be looking to continue where they left off against Chelsea at Molineux. But the former Norwich stopper says it won’t stop Wolves adopting their gameplan. “One hundred per cent, look at where they finished last year and albeit people said they had a bad season but they are still quite a way in front of a lot of teams,” he added. “That’s the expectation they’ve got to deal with but we will be going out there and trying to get the result we want.”
United are trying to recapture the glory days they enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson but Bennett feels the Red Devils retain a special aura about them. “I think they have, it’s a massive club,” he said. “Regardless of last season and the seasons before, you look at it as a brand and it’s a massive club, but you focus on what they do on the pitch. Maybe they are not as strong as before but that’s not for us to talk about. We know they had a good start to the season.”