Thursday 5 December 2019

Van Gaal bemoans Christmas schedule

Louis van Gaal is unhappy about Manchester United's Christmas programme - but accepts it
Louis van Gaal is unhappy about Manchester United's Christmas programme - but accepts it

Louis van Gaal accepts that Christmas with the family is something he will have to sacrifice as manager of Manchester United.

The Dutchman is sad that he will not get to see his loved ones much during the festive season because of the English game's traditional heavy schedule at that time of year.

Van Gaal also feels the programme - which could include four games in nine days, depending on FA Cup fixtures - places an unfair burden on players.

But the veteran former Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Holland coach is willing to adapt to pursue his ambitions with United.

The 63-year-old said: "I am not happy - but I cannot change it - because I don't think it is good for the players that they play within two days of a (previous) match - two matches in two days. In December it shall be like that.

"We also have family. I have a wife and kids, and grandchildren, and I cannot see them this Christmas.

"But I want to work in the Premier League, so I have to adapt, and I shall adapt.

"But I don't think it is good. It is not good for the players, nor for the family."

United's Christmas itinerary in the Barclays Premier League sees them host Newcastle on Boxing Day and travel to Tottenham two days later. They will then be back in action at Stoke on New Year's Day, possibly just two days before an FA Cup third-round tie.

But while Van Gaal may not be not familiar with such a busy workload at that time of year, he has again reiterated his belief that his team are at a disadvantage because their lack of Champions League football.

Last season Liverpool finished second in the Premier League while free of the distractions of European competition.

There is a feeling United could similarly benefit this term but Van Gaal does not see it that way.

He said: "You cannot say Chelsea are not used to playing in the Champions League and the Premier League, and League Cup and FA Cup. They are used to that and they have all those selections.

"So, I don't think so. When you are challenged during the whole season you become better. We have to train to become better. It is a longer (harder) way than to play the games against top opponents."

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