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Van Gaal demands United training pitches be replaced with Old Trafford-like turf

Ian Herbert

Published 22/07/2014 | 11:05

Louis van Gaal has ordered that the current training ground pitches at the club be ripped up and replaced with an Old Trafford-like surface
Louis van Gaal has ordered that the current training ground pitches at the club be ripped up and replaced with an Old Trafford-like surface

Manchester United manager has continued his quest for improvements at the club by demanding that the club’s training ground pitches be replaced with old Trafford-like turf.

Van Gaal revealed last week that he is unhappy with the windy nature of the training complex which Sir Alex Ferguson viewed as one of his great legacies, prompting the club to plant trees which will act as a barrier.

Van Gaal has that said the training ground pitches are also unsatisfactory, leading United to seek a rapid solution by ripping up two training pitches and replacing them with the new Dessograssmaster surface which is in place at Old Trafford and Wembley. The new pitches will be laid today, among a frenzy of pre-season work at Old Trafford, with double fences are also expected to be erected to complement the use of trees as wind breaks.

The immediacy with which the work has been undertaken underlines the assertiveness and decisiveness which United chief executive Ed Woodward consider to be among Van Gaal’s key assets.

It is anticipated that the new surfaces will be ready for use at Carrington in six weeks, with the squad set to train on one of the many pitches at the training ground until the new Desso turf has settled sufficiently.

United committed £800,000 to a new Wembley-style, part-synthetic surface at Old Trafford at the end of the 2013-14 campaign following claims by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson that the previous pitch had ‘collapsed’ following prolonged winter rainfall in Manchester.

Van Gaal has also sought maximum time to assess the players, undertaking double training sessions this week with the squad ahead of a first pre-season match, against the LA Galaxy in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The work on the pitches and windscreens underlines the reputation Van Gaal cherishes as a football scientist, as well as motivator. Both Arsenal and Manchester City, among others, have sought to replicate the pitch they use on match days at their training centres.

The new Etihad Campus, which City will open this autumn, is expected to include training pitches with varying lengths of turf, to replicate stadia where the club will play in an upcoming fixture.

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