Manchester United have agreed to meet Louis Van Gaal’s demands over a shorter summer tour next year, after the Dutchman criticised the “dreadful distances” United have to travel in their US tour this summer and hinted the long trips could disrupt the team’s preparation ahead of next season.
United play in Pasadena – a 30-mile trip from Los Angeles, where the team is based – on Wednesday evening – early Thursday morning in the UK – and then face trips to Denver, Washington and Detroit and, potentially, a trip to Miami on August 4th if they reach the final of the International Champions Cup.
Van Gaal has made clear United must cut back on their commercial commitments to focus on football.
“The tour was already arranged [before he became manager] and I shall adapt and United will do everything to apply to my rules but I have said that already. This is the first time I am late for a press conference, but it is the Los Angeles traffic, so I am sorry for that,” said Van Gaal, who arrived at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl almost half an hour late because of congested traffic.
United still don’t know where they’ll be travelling on next summer’s tour, but Van Gaal said the club had agreed to meet his request for a shorter tour.
“Yes, I hope that [it will be shorter], but they have already said that to me and I am very confident that it shall be,” explained the 62-year-old, who claimed United’s commitments to their sponsors were complicating their pre-season.
“We have to prepare the season and when you have commercial activities and dreadful distances, having to fly a lot and the jet lag, it is not positive for a good preparation,” said the Dutchman.
Van Gaal, however, was extremely pleased with how his squad has worked under him so far.
“I have to say that is has been fantastic. Maybe you think that every trainer-coach will say that when they are new, but I mean it. The players are very anxious to do what I say and follow the instruction of my assistants,” he said.
“The focus of what I have seen in training sessions is top level, but we have to see if the performances are also top level.”