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United ditch lucrative friendlies to aid LVG preparation

ESPN staff
August 3, 2014 « Van Gaal left amazed by United defence | Day 6: Maria Ho eliminated, 68 left »
Louis van Gaal believes his Manchester United preparations have been hampered by the pre-season tour of America © Getty Images
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Louis van Gaal's influence at Manchester United continues to grow after the Dutchman revealed he asked for his side not to play in lucrative friendlies in order to make up for the club's lack of European football this season.

Following United's failure to qualify for the Champions League, Van Gaal wants to use the opening 10 weeks of the season to train his squad, rather than put his players through money-spinning friendlies.

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He held talks with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over the issue and, while further meetings are scheduled, Woodward has seemingly granted his manager's wish.

"I need preparation of 10 weeks and I am lucky Manchester United are not playing in a European competition to do this," Van Gaal said.

"We have discussed the issue of friendly matches and for the first 10 weeks, we have to train. After that it is different and we will wait to see if we have a chance to play some matches. It will also depends on the opponent. It has to be a good opponent like this tournament in America.

"Manchester United shall do everything to adapt to my rules for good preparation."

Van Gaal recently hit out at United's "dreadful" pre-season tour of America and stated the trip, which will see his side travel more than 13,000 in two weeks, will hinder his preparations for the new season.

Woodward appears to have agreed a compromise with Van Gaal and will stave off arranging friendlies for the first 10 weeks of the season, while other teams play out their Champions League group games.

However, there is still the prospect of United arranging winter friendlies in the final round of group games and knockout stages, when European heavyweights have dropped out of the competition.

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