Ahead of his second season in charge at Manchester United, Louis van Gaal believes the Premier League giant will enjoy a much quicker start to the 2015-16 season than the one they labored through in his first season at the club.
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For Van Gaal, it’s all about his team’s preparations — more specifically, and simply, their itinerary — of their American preseason tour, which Van Gaal believes thoroughly drained his squad ahead of the season due to frequent and prolonged travel between Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Miami.
Van Gaal, on the differences between last year’s preseason and the upcoming summer, from MUTV:
“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.”
“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 also.
“The problem was when we went to America (last year), 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. So it is now more easy to train twice a day and that is very important in preseason.”
You can’t really say Van Gaal doesn’t have a point in regards to last summer’s tour. Take that kind of trans-American travel over a two- or three-week period, and any team anywhere in the world is bound to be worn down by the end of it. That’s not even taking into consideration that a number of key figures at United spent anywhere from two to four weeks traveling around Brazil and playing in the World Cup just a few weeks before said preseason began.
It should come as no surprise that Man United’s best stretch of results and performances came during the middle part of the season — after enjoying the necessary weeks and months on the training field, and before were run into the ground and broke down at the tail end of the campaign.