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Van Gaal expects sharper Manchester United after itinerary trim

By Andy Hampson

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal will expect his team to hit the ground running next season after improving their summer schedule.

Van Gaal was critical of the programme for United's pre-season tour of the United States last summer, believing the team spent too much time crossing time zones.

United played games in Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Miami last year but have scaled back the travelling and will be based predominantly on the west coast this time.

United will stay mainly in the Seattle and San Francisco Bay areas as they train and play four matches in the International Champions Cup.

Van Gaal said: "When you see our pre-season last year, we won everything playing against big clubs and then we had to play our first match of the season against Swansea and we lost. That cannot happen next year.

"The most important aspect is building up our team with individual players so they are thinking like a team, but also we need fitness and match rhythm and therefore we have to play matches, but we have to train also.

"The problem was in America last year we didn't train because we had to fly. Now though, we have improved our America tour because we have two base camps and we are at the other side of America so we have lower temperatures and can build up our fitness better."

United face Club America in Seattle on July 17, San Jose Earthquakes in Berkeley on July 21 and Barcelona in Santa Clara four days later. They then play PSG in Chicago on July 29.

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