Football

Louis van Gaal plans stern pre-season test for Manchester United

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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal insists his side will have to hit the ground running after sorting out their pre-season schedule.

The Dutch boss was less than impressed with the plans made last season by Manchester United officials which saw them play games in Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Miami during their tour of north America. 

Van Gaal didn't take up the reigns at Old Trafford until after the Netherland's World Cup campaign came to an end in July, and he complained that, coupled with the extensive pre-season tour, cut into his time to get the Red Devils ready for the 2014/15 campaign.

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Manchester United duly got off to one of their worst starts in years as they notched up just 13 points in 10 games - prompting Van Gaal to lash out at the powers that be. This time however he is happy with the scaled down plans for the upcoming tour of America, and says his team will have no excuses if they start slowly again.

He told Manchester United's official television station: “When you see our pre-season last year in the United States of America, we won everything playing against big, top clubs, and then we had to play our first match against Swansea City and we lost. That cannot happen next year.

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“The most important aspect is building up our team with individual players so they are thinking like a team, but also we need fitness and match rhythm and therefore we have to play matches, but we also have to train. The problem was when we went to America we didn’t have so many times to train because we had to fly and travel a lot.

“Now though, we have improved our America tour because we have two basecamps and we are at the other side of America so we have lower temperatures and can build up our fitness better. Last year we had a lot of time differences. You cannot then train your body properly. Therefore it was not good.

Changes

“Now we are always in the same basecamps so we have no time difference and we have chosen our hotel nearby the training accommodation. So it is now more easy to train twice a day and that is very important in pre-season.”

This year the Red Devils will play against Club America in Seattle on 17 July, San Jose Earthquakes in Berkeley on 21 July and then Barcelona in Santa Clara four days later. They then play Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago on 29 July before heading home - where they will face Tottenham on the first day of the season. 

Van Gaal will likely have a majorly remodelled squad for the first game of the new season, and has already sealed a deal for PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay. 

A host of top stars have been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks including Karim Benzema and Paul Pogba as the Red Devils gear up to return to the Champions League.

Opinion

Van Gaal has to deliver this season. Although it all ended well for the Dutchman he went through more than a few rocky patches and was criticised for his brand of football. 

Now he has everything in order as he wants - and has full control of who they sign - so nothing short of a title challenge will do, especially if they do go on and spend more than £150 million again.

Where do you think Manchester United will finish next season?

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal

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