Wednesday 26 October 2016

Premier League big guns head to USA

Published 15/04/2015 | 16:36

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has won his battle for a shorter pre-season
Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has won his battle for a shorter pre-season

Manchester United and Chelsea will return to the United States this summer as part of the 10-team International Champions Cup.

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The Barclays Premier League giants will be joined by Barcelona, Paris St Germain, Porto, Fiorentina, Mexico's Club America and three Major League Soccer sides in the line-up.

The exact format is yet to be announced, although the tournament will take place between July 11 and August 5.

The finish date would clearly be untenable for United and Chelsea considering next season's Premier League kicks off three days later on August 8 - but United boss Louis Van Gaal is believed to have sought assurances on the scheduling.

Van Gaal was heavily critical of United's three-week, five-match schedule last year, decrying the "dreadful distances" and adding: "it is not very positive for a good preparation."

The Dutchman has reportedly insisted this summer's tour be cut to two weeks and that United's stay in America does not extend into August, due to the early start to the domestic season.

Chelsea too will have looked carefully at the itinerary - they are also expected to confirm a week-long post-season trip to Japan.

However both Van Gaal and his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho have acknowledged that the commercial pressures of their respective clubs demand pre-season tours in order to expand their fan-base.

Last summer United played Real Madrid in front of a record crowd of more than 109,000 - plus Inter Milan and Roma before beating Liverpool in the final.

Real Madrid will not be involved this time - the Champions League holders will be taking part in a sister tournament in Australia along with Manchester City.

Press Association

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