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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jul 23, 2014

Louis van Gaal unhappy with U.S. trip

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is not happy about the amount of travelling his players must do on their preseason tour to the United States.

Louis van Gaal thinks Manchester United are putting his chances of success in jeopardy by dragging the first-team squad across the U.S. on their preseason tour.

United start their buildup to the Premier League campaign on Wednesday when they face the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

It will be the first game of a 2½-week-long tour that could see United travel almost 13,500 miles if they reach the final of the International Champions Cup -- a preseason tournament that includes some of the best clubs in Europe -- at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.

After the game in L.A., United will travel to Denver, Washington, D.C., and Detroit.  If they top their group, which contains Roma, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, they will fly to Miami. Between the matches, the players must appear at sponsor events and conduct interviews for the club's in-house TV channel.

Key European club fixtures

French Ligue 1 -- Aug. 8
FA Community Shield: Manchester City vs. Arsenal -- Aug. 10
German Super Cup: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich -- Aug. 13
English Premier League -- Aug. 16
Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid -- Aug. 19 and 22
Spanish La Liga/German Bundesliga -- Aug. 23
Italian Serie A -- Aug. 30

It all seems too much for Van Gaal, who made his annoyance clear at his first prematch news conference in the U.S.

When asked whether United's commercial commitments were impinging on football matters, Van Gaal said, "More or less, yes, because we have to prepare the season, and when you have a lot of commercial activities also for the players, and you have to travel distances, you have to fly a lot, you have also jet lag, and that is not very positive for a good preparation.

"But the tour was already arranged, so I have to adapt, I shall adapt."

Van Gaal has been with United for only a week, but he has already twice complained about the team's commercial activities.

Before Tuesday night's grumbling, Van Gaal said at his unveiling, "Within two days I know already how important Manchester United is but also how important the sponsors are, and I have to work and prepare a team, and I have to adapt to this big club. It will not be easy."

Van Gaal's blunt assessment flew in the face of comments made by his boss, Ed Woodward, less than 24 hours earlier. Responding to the comments made by Van Gaal at his unveiling, United's executive vice-chairman said on Monday, "It doesn't disrupt the football club."

Woodward said he was open to discussions with Van Gaal about where he thought the club should go on tour next year.

Keen to maximise their profits and broaden their fan base, United have been on long-haul tours for the past 10 years. Last summer they racked up 23,000 miles travelling between Australia, Thailand, China and Japan.

The club have been keen to tap into the Asian market in the past few years, and South Africa and the U.S. have been regular destinations for the squad in the preseason. Van Gaal has made it clear he will not accept such a draining tour as the current one next summer.

"Manchester United shall do everything to adapt to my rules for good preparation," the Dutchman said.

When asked whether he would like a shorter tour next year with less travelling, Van Gaal said: "Yeah, I hope that. They have already said that to me. And I am very confident that it shall be."

Around 2,500 paying customers sat in the stands at the 90,000-capacity Rose Bowl on Tuesday just to watch the squad train. A crowd of over 70,000 is expected for the match.

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