Louis van Gaal got his second season in charge at Manchester United underway last night, as the Red Devils defeated Club America 1-0 in the Guinness International Champions Cup.
New signing Morgan Schneiderlin scored an early goal in his debut which turned out to be the game-winner, a great start for the man who cost United $40 million.
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While Van Gaal put out a very strong lineup to start the match, one glaring omission was the name of David de Gea, as the goalkeeper has been constantly linked with a high-profile move to Real Madrid this summer. However, LVG claimed his absence was only due to a minor injury.
Van Gaal made eleven changes at halftime, putting in an entirely new squad for the second half. After the match, LVG broke down the win and spoke on his tactics for the summer preseason tour.
Below are excerpts from LVG’s post game presser, speaking with Manchester United’s club website.
On the players who did not feature: “David De Gea and Antonio Valencia were injured, minor injuries, but we cannot take any risks. Marouane Fellaini is suspended for the first three [Premier League] matches so he has a longer time to prepare himself and I need to see other players.
On his plans for the three remaining tour matches: “We use this tournament for our match rhythm, to build it up. So we play the next match against San Jose and we will also play 45 minutes for all of the players. That is our philosophy and then we will play 60 minutes and 30 minutes. Maybe in the last match we will play for 90 minutes, or use another team to play for 60 minutes. That I don’t know. I have to read the data of the players. But our plan is to play the next game with 22 players.”
On the playing surface at CenturyLink Field: “The pitch was difficult. Also, the first surface [underneath] is artificial and the grass is always moving. You saw a lot of players slipped. You can get more injuries, which is a concern. But also last season against Real Madrid we played in such circumstances. That is the difference in the US with American football stadiums, it is more important. In England we have Old Trafford and it is only for football. It is not for entertaining. There is no One Direction. In England we live for football but in USA they live for American football and baseball.”
I guess it’s safe to say LVG wasn’t at the One Direction concert in Seattle a few nights ago. He must be more of a Bieber guy.
Van Gaal talked about his plans to use 22 players in the preseason matches, as he started with a very strong XI yesterday before making a mass substitution to give his young players a full half of play. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if LVG gives some of those youngsters a run with the “first” team to see how they perform with the Premier League just around the corner.
Manchester United’s next match is against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 21, then taking on European giants Barcelona and Paris-Saint Germain before heading back to England.