Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Louis van Gaal orders Manchester United training pitches to be replaced with Old Trafford-like turf

By Ian Herbert

Published 22/07/2014

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal leads training in the United States
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal leads training in the United States

The new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has continued his demands for improvements to the training complex he inherited, by ordering the creation of two superior training pitches which will today be laid using the same turf as his players will perform on at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal revealed last week that he is unhappy with the windy nature of the training complex which Sir Alex Ferguson viewed as one of his great legacies, prompting the club to plant trees which will act as a barrier.

Van Gaal has that said the training ground pitches are also unsatisfactory, leading United to seek a rapid solution by ripping up two training pitches and replacing them with the new Dessograssmaster surface which is in place at Old Trafford and Wembley. The new pitches will be laid today, among a frenzy of pre-season work at Old Trafford. Double fences are also expected to be erected to complement the use of trees as wind breaks.

The immediacy with which the work has been undertaken underlines the assertiveness and decisiveness which United chief executive Ed Woodward consider to be among Van Gaal’s key assets.

Van Gaal has also sought maximum time to assess the players, undertaking double training sessions this week with the squad ahead of a first pre-season match, against the LA Galaxy in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The work on the pitches and windscreens underlines the reputation Van Gaal cherishes as a football scientist, as well as motivator.

Both Arsenal and Manchester City, among others, have sought to replicate the pitch they use on match days at their training centres. The new Etihad Campus, which City will open this autumn, is expected to include training pitches with varying lengths of turf, to replicate stadia where the club will play in an upcoming fixture.

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