By Martyn Herman
Manchester United’s squad have been warned. Slack off in training and new manager Louis van Gaal will be watching you.
The 62-year-old Dutchman is leaving nothing to chance as he prepares in painstaking detail for the start of the Premier League season, introducing a range of new innovations.
High-definition cameras have been installed at the club’s Carrington training facility, meaning every kick can be monitored by the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach charged with restoring the 20-time English champions back to the top after a woeful seventh-placed finish last season.
The no-nonsense coach has also insisted on players speaking English at all times during training and has even replaced rectangular tables in the canteen with round ones to encourage conversation amongst his players.
New pitches, to replicate the Old Trafford surface, have been put down at Carrington and Van Gaal has prioritised making the squad fitter than it was under former manager David Moyes who was sacked less than a season after taking over from Alex Ferguson.
“I think it is a lot more detailed at the training ground now,” United defender Evans told a news conference in Michigan where United will play European champions Real Madrid in front of an expected 109,000 fans on Saturday.
“They have spent thousands on it and a few of the lads have seen HD cameras around the pitch.
“We have this system at the minute where he can watch us on the pitch.
“I think a lot of teams use it but we are looking into it in quite a lot of detail,” Evans added. “He is saying ‘you should be five yards to the right’, we are able to see things that are happening live on the pitch.
“That kind of scrutiny is new to every single player.
“The case before was that as long as we got the results everything was fine.”
United have produced encouraging displays in the States, beating Roma and Inter Milan, and Van Gaal is relishing the chance to evaluate his squad against Madrid.
“It’s not a little club that we have to beat and now it’s Real Madrid,” he told the club’s website.
“It’s nice to play against such teams and that you can show that you are at least equal.”