Van Gaal: Poor pre-season cost Manchester United title tilt

The Dutchman believes last summer’s exertions were to blame for a sluggish start to the campaign, but insists the club have now changed their plans to meet his requirements

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the club’s pre-season preparations cost them a run at the Premier League title.

Van Gaal took over at Old Trafford following the World Cup and the squad were immediately whisked away on a tour of the United States, which included matches in humid climates and long-haul flights.

Despite winning all of their pre-season matches United took just eight points from their first six games of the season proper, which left them eight points behind Jose Mourinho’s side.

The Dutchman says his men would be level with the Blues were it not for that slow start, and insists this summer will be different.

Asked what he must do to bridge the gap to the league leaders, Van Gaal replied: “We need balance in our selection, I said that many many times, I cannot deny that we need balance in our selection.

“I think also the preparation of our season, Manchester United has already adapted to a better preparation – we shall have two base camps in the United States so we are not flying between the matches, we are going via a bus. That’s better.

“The temperature is lower as we are on the [opposite] coast to last year, so they have adapted to my criteria. So we shall have a better preparation also.

“We started very badly this year because when you cut the start of it I think we shall equalise Chelsea, for example, but now we have to start better.

“When I preview our preparations now it looks better, but we have to see of course. Then we have to make the balance in our selection better, and then we have to perform at the moment that it has been asked.

“We have to perform better than this year.”

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