Festive schedule costs fans, says Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal on Tuesday accused the English football authorities of neglecting player welfare and short-changing millions of supporters due to the over-crowded festive fixture schedule.
The Dutchman, currently in the middle of his first season in the English game, has been an outspoken critic of the Premier League`s traditional mid-season programme.
United drew 0-0 at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, kicking off only 43 hours after a Boxing Day win over Newcastle United, and Van Gaal believes the stress placed on the league`s superstars reduces the quality of the spectacle.
"Everybody knows the body cannot recover within 48 hours," he told his weekly press conference in Manchester.
"Therefore there is a rule within UEFA and FIFA that you cannot play the games within two days. The scientists have proven it, everybody knows it and, in spite of that, we have to play.
"It is the culture of England. I don`t mind, but it`s not good for the players, for the health of the players, and it`s not good for the game.
"I think the FA (Football Association) and the fans want attractive games, but you saw the second half against Tottenham, you saw the second half of Chelsea and Southampton (a 1-1 draw)..."
At the halfway point of his debut season with United, Van Gaal has overseen an impressive turnaround in the club`s fortunes after a return of only 13 points from their first 10 league games.Now, with United comfortably in third place and apparently on course for a berth in next season`s Champions League, Van Gaal is predicting further improvements and success in 2015.
"I think we are still in a process," he said.
"Everybody can see we are improving every week despite a lot of injuries and that is because of the philosophy, and the players understand it. We can improve more when we have all the players available.
"We can be satisfied about the points now -- 36 points, within our goal -- and we are improving every week. We can see the future with open eyes.
"We shall continue with our process and maybe playing attractive matches, hopefully also with fantastic results, at the end of the season with a good location on the table."
Meanwhile, the former Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands coach has also revealed how much he has taken to life in his new country and, in particular, a Chinese restaurant in Manchester city centre.
"English life is fantastic because I have met only friendly people on the streets and in the restaurants where I go," he said.
"The food is fantastic because when I came to England, everybody said the food is not good, but it`s fantastic. Also, the wine list is fantastic.
"I have very nice neighbours. They are all older than me, but very nice. I live in a surrounding environment that is fantastic. My favourite food is Chinese food, and the restaurant is (called) Wing`s."