Manchester United manager David Moyes has hinted at a conspiracy against his side after they eased to the Premier League title last season, suggesting that their difficult start to the Premier League may not be so coincidental.
Moyes’ Premier League career with United gets underway at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, when they take on Capital One Cup champions Swansea, before a run of game that sees them face title rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool by September 22.
In among those, they also face Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace, and Moyes has questioned whether such a tough start is fair on the defending Premier League champions.
As quoted on the BBC Sport website, Moyes said: "I think it's the hardest start for 20 years that Manchester United have had.
"I hope it's not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year (that) the fixtures have been made much more difficult.
"I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag, that's for sure."
Their rivals City face newly-promoted duo Cardiff and Hull, and also face Stoke in their opening fixtures, while Chelsea will also meet Hull along with a rearranged fixture against Aston Villa next week, to accommodate their European Super Cup clash against Bayern Munich at the end of the week.
The concerns had been presented to the Premier League, and a spokesman has issued a statement to allay any fears that the process of organising the fixtures is completely fair for all teams.
The Premier League spokesman said: "David has put those concerns to us. We have absolutely assured him the process is random and above board. He has accepted those assurances."