The Red Devils travel to the Russian capital just days before a top of the table clash against their city rivals, but the manager is adamant each game will be taken seriously
Louis van Gaal has dismissed suggestions he will prioritise the Manchester derby over Wednesday’s Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow, but insisted a draw would be a decent result.
United go into the game at the Arena Khimki on three points from two games – an identical record to the other three sides in Group B – and Van Gaal knows there is little scope for resting players for Sunday’s home game against their Premier League title rivals.
“For me, as a manager, the next match is the most important match. I don’t think about Man City. I only think about CSKA Moscow and I have to focus on this match,” the Dutchman told reporters.
“I demand that also from my players. We have already lost one game against PSV away and we want to gain one point at least. That is why it is a very important match for us.”
Van Gaal would be happy to claim a point in Russia and target wins at Old Trafford.
“I said before PSV – one point away from home is good,” he added.
“Three points is better but one is good.”
United traditionally train at the stadium the night before the game, but opted this time to go through their paces at Carrington before heading east.
“We trained in Manchester today because of the logistics and the way we have to prepare for matches,” Van Gaal explained.
“We were told that there would be traffic jams in Moscow so we thought it would be better to train at home on our training ground.
“My preference is to train here, because then the players know the circumstances and where they have to play, but in this case we decided to train in Manchester.”
Wayne Rooney took the time to inspect the pitch prior to meeting the media and the England captain was impressed with what he saw.
“The pitch looks very good, a lot better than we thought. We can’t complain about it.”