The Old Trafford clash on August 26 comes as speculation mounts over the future of Wayne Rooney who was subject of a £25m bid from the Blues last week.

And the defender who helped the club to Europa League glory last season believes the game against the champions may be pivotal in achieving a good start.

"It's very important for us psychologically to start the season well" the 29-year-old said.

"I think it can give us extra confidence and after that we can play game by game.

"The season is very long. We have to be ready for every challenge."

He added: "It's very important more mentally because it's the beginning of the season.

"That game will not decide who is going to be champions but it will decide a lot of things about the confidence and about the team."