Festive schedule not good for the game, says Van Gaal

The Dutchman is experiencing Christmas in the UK for the first time and, after previously enjoying a winter break, is finding the “culture of England” difficult to comprehend

Manchester United may be unbeaten in the Premier League over the festive period but that has not stopped manager Louis van Gaal continuing his criticism of the playing schedule.

The Red Devils currently sit third in the table, after just one defeat in 14 games, but were unable to find a winner in Sunday’s scoreless draw with Tottenham.

Van Gaal is in no doubt that fatigue was to blame for his side’s lacklustre display at White Hart Lane, expressing his dissatisfaction with his players having to play again just two days after defeating Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

“Everybody knows that a body cannot recover within 48 hours,” the Dutchman said. “Therefore, there is a rule at Uefa and Fifa that you cannot play games [in that time]. That’s scientifically proven.

“Everybody knows that and, in spite of that, we have to play. It’s the culture of England.

“I don’t mind but it is not good for the health of the players and it is not good for the game because I think the FA, and also the fans, want attractive games.

“You have seen the second half [at Tottenham]. You have seen the second half of Chelsea against Southampton.”

Despite the former Netherlands boss’ insistence that players should not be expected to play two games in such quick succession, Manchester United named the same starting XI in consecutive matches for the first time in 85 Premier League games – since November 2012.

Van Gaal is not critical of everything in England though, admitting that he is loving life here, since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer.

“English life is fantastic because I have met only friendly people on the streets and in the restaurants. The food is fantastic because when I came to England everybody said the food was not good.

“Also, the wine list is fantastic. I have very nice neighbours; they are all older than me but very nice. I live in a surrounding environment that is fantastic.”

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