London: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes a changed pre-season programme will enable his side to be fresh for the start of a new Premier League campaign. The Dutch boss was unimpressed by the amount of time the English giants spent travelling across time zones while they were in the United States last year.
Louis van Gaal
United played matches all across the country, with fixtures in Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Miami. But although they have returned to the United States for this pre-season, the club will be based mainly on the west coast, in Seattle and San Francisco, while taking part in the International Champions Cup.
"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," van Gaal told MUTV, United's in-house television station. "That cannot happen next year (season).
"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."
Van Gaal added: "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. "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."
United face Club America in Seattle on July 17, San Jose Earthquakes in Berkeley on July 21 and Barcelona in Santa Clara four days later. They face Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago on July 29 before returning to England. Last season, Van Gaal's first at Old Trafford, saw United finish fourth in the Premier League and so enter the qualifying round for the lucrative Champions League. United's failure to quality for any sort of European football under former manager David Moyes led to the Scot's sacking and his replacement at Old Trafford by van Gaal.