United rips up training ground

LONDON - Manchester United were scheduled to rip up two training pitches at their Carrington training ground yesterday in order to fast-track Louis van Gaal’s demand for better facilities at the club.

Van Gaal, who takes charge of United for the first time when they face LA Galaxy in Pasadena tonight, has made a series of recommendations for improvements at Carrington.

And the first will be instigated this morning, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward authorising the installation of two Desso playing surfaces which will exactly replicate the pitch at Old Trafford.

With United currently on tour of the United States, there will be no disruption to the club’s training plans with the first-team squad undertaking their pre-season preparations in California.

And it is anticipated that the new surfaces will be ready for use at Carrington in six weeks, with the squad set to train on one of the many pitches at the training ground until the new Desso turf has settled sufficiently.

United committed £800,000 to a new Wembley-style, part-synthetic surface at Old Trafford at the end of the 2013-14 campaign following claims by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson that the previous pitch had ‘collapsed’ following prolonged winter rainfall in Manchester.

The club enlisted pitch specialists Desso to overhaul the Old Trafford playing surface and the same company will start work at Carrington today.

While Old Trafford’s previous pitch was a pure grass surface, the new surface is a fusion of grass and 20 million artificial fibres, which intertwine with the natural grass 20 centimetres beneath the surface to give strengthen the playing area and make it more robust and stable.

The pitch is firmer than a traditional grass surface, prompting Van Gaal to insist on two replicas at Carrington.

Former Holland coach Van Gaal has also urged the club to investigate measures which will help shield the training pitches from gusts of wind, with the planting of trees one possibility being considered.

"The facility needs a little more intimacy," Van Gaal said. "I have asked already because now it's an open field but there is always wind.

"And wind is not always the friend of the players. It's not always the friend of the ball and so we have to do something about that. But the facilities are fantastic." – Agencies

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