Manchester United defender John O'Shea is hoping his team avoid a defensive injury crisis this season.
United suffered from a shortage of stoppers throughout the last campaign which saw them lose their grip on the Premier League title.
Chelsea ran out the eventual winners of the championship and Sir Alex Ferguson's team were left to reflect on a winter of discontent in December.
Ferguson saw his team lose twice in the league as O'Shea and fellow defenders Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Wes Brown and Fabio spent time on the sidelines.
Nemanja Vidic and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar were also conspicuous absentees and O'Shea - felled by a thigh problem - believes the injuries affected their hopes of the retaining the title.
The Irish international said: "Injuries were a key factor last season and we hope to avoid them this time around. I can never remember so many defenders being injured.
"But we still got so close to retaining the title - only a few lapses of concentration let us down in the end. Now we are all hungry to succeed again."
United are currently preparing for the new Premier League campaign by holding their pre-season preparations in the United States.
It means the Red Devils have been training in sweltering temperatures in the region of 30 degrees Celcius but O'Shea recognises preparations are vital in starting the season strongly.
"It is hard but not as hard as it was in years gone by, mind you," added the 29-year-old.
"It is more personalised now, which is down to the sports science staff. A good pre-season is so important."