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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal: Premier League physicality affects performances in the Champions League

by Sid Choudhary

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the gruelling nature of the Premier League impacts how English teams do in Europe.

Over the past few years, there has been a considerable drop in performances by English teams in the Champions League.

Man United failed to qualify for last year’s competition following a seventh place finish in the league the campaign before.

Van Gaal feels that the competitive nature of the Premier League hampers the chances of English sides in Europe and that it gives the opposition an advantage.


The manager said: “The Premier League is a very difficult league. To beat your opponent every week is not easy, it is always a struggle and a battle. Then you have to play again mid-week in the Champions League and that is the difference between all the clubs in Europe.

“It is not predictable to say four teams in the Premier League shall overcome this group stage round, no, it is not like that. But I have to say that we have the teams to do it and we have the quality to do it.”

Chelsea were the only English team to win in the Champions League during the first gameweek, with United, Arsenal and Manchester City all losing. Van Gaal cited the lack of recovery time as one of the reasons Premier league teams have been struggling.

“I say we have to play Sunday-Tuesday, Sunday-Wednesday, so between the matches we cannot recover all of the tiredness. Then we have to play against a European squad who is willing to give everything against us. They don’t have a rat race in their competition and that is the difference.”

United currently sit top of the Premier League after their victory over Sunderland and will go into tomorrow’s game against Wolfsburg having had a three day rest. It could be hugely beneficial for United as they welcome the German side to Old Trafford, desperate for a win.

After losing to PSV Eindhoven in their first game in the competition, a victory is crucial for United. Home games are must-win in the Champions League and anything but three points will leave United with a mountain to climb in order to qualify for the knockout rounds.

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