Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is confident lessons have been learned in the wake of last season's harrowing title loss to bitter rivals Manchester City.
United were pipped at the death by two goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero as Roberto Mancini's side came from behind to beat QPR 3-2. Vidic, forced to look on from the sidelines as he recovered from a cruciate ligament injury, is now ready to lead a more resolute United back into battle this campaign.
"We had some young players play a lot of games last season and they'll have learned a lot. We all learned," said Vidic. "In Europe we've had so much success in recent years - we've had three finals, a semi-final - and maybe we relaxed a bit last season."
After eight months out recovering from his injury nightmare Vidic finally returned to action for United in Sunday's goalless draw with Norwegian outfit Valerenga.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side now move on to a high-profile encounter with Barcelona in Gothenburg on Wednesday, with Vidic insisting such a game is vital ahead of the season-opener with Everton on August 20.
Speaking to manutd.com, Vidic added: "You want hard games during pre-season. We want to be prepared as best we can for the first game against Everton.
"I think it's important to have tough games before the beginning of the season and hopefully one of those will be Barcelona - actually, I know one of those will be Barcelona.
"But I think both us and Barcelona are concerned more with fitness and playing good football at this time of the season than we are with winning."
After playing two matches to help England reach the Euro 2012 quarter finals where they suffered another agonising penalty shoot-out defeat, this time to Italy, Wayne Rooney is relishing the prospect of a clash with Barcelona ahead of the new campaign.
"It's great to play in big games and Barcelona is one of them," Rooney said. "It's all part of our preparation and we need to make sure we do the right things. We want to enjoy the game and get our fitness ready for the first game of the season."