NEW YORK (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has echoed the sentiments of new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal in criticising the demands of their pre-season tour.
Wenger said it was “impossible” to prepare his squad properly for the upcoming Premier League campaign, which begins on August 16, given the demands of their pre-season schedule and players returning later than normal after World Cup duty.
Arsenal are in the United States for a friendly against Major league Soccer (MLS) franchise New York Red Bulls, before heading to Austria for a training camp and then returning to London for the Emirates Cup.
“These training camps in the modern game are decided for commercial reasons and because of the extent of popularity of the club,” the Frenchman told a news conference on Thursday.
”We’ve never been to the States before and I was very happy to come to New York – a city I love.
“But for purely football reasons, the best thing to do is stay and not travel too much because of the time you waste and the jet-lag you suffer is not ideal.”
Arsenal are without a host of internationals following the World Cup and Wenger highlighted the difficulty in players beginning the intense domestic campaign so soon after returning from the tournament.
”This season is a post-World Cup year and very difficult because the time is very short between the final, which was on July 13, and the start of the new season on August 16.
“And compulsory, from FIFA, you are obliged to give four weeks’ holiday to the players, so I don’t know how all that works together. It looks, to me, impossible.”
Wenger’s comments came days after Van Gaal said Manchester United’s pre-season tour was wrongly being dictated by the club’s commercial interests.
United beat Los Angeles Galaxy 7-0 on Wednesday, and now face games in Denver, Washington and Detroit.
Van Gaal’s team potentially face a fifth game on Aug. 4, less than two weeks before they kick off their Premier League season at home to Swansea City on August 16.
“More or less, yes,” Van Gaal told British media in the United States, when asked whether the demands were hindering their preparations.
“We have to prepare the season and when you have commercial activities and dreadful distances, having to fly a lot and the jet lag, it is not very positive for a good preparation.”
Reporting By Tom Hayward; editing by Toby Davis