Louis van Gaal has gone in to some detail explaining what the pre-match routine is for Manchester United’s game. As you would expect, it’s incredibly meticulous.

The preparation starts with the scout, Paul Brand, who is analysing the opponent, who selects all the images with Marcel Bout, the (opposition) scout. Marcel Bout is always going (to watch the opposition) two weeks in front of the game, because then we are playing the same circumstances, at home or away.

Then Ryan Giggs is making a presentation for the players out of the images that Marcel Bout and Paul Brand have selected. Then we make a game-plan because of the analysis. Then we discuss the game-plan.

The next day we have to present it to the players. Giggs is doing that. So, another meeting with the players. They have to look. We explain. Then we go and train the game-plan 11 against 11. Ryan Giggs is coaching the opponent. He has analysed them.

Albert Stuivenberg has to coach my team. Then we practise different patterns. We film the training session. The next meeting is the ‘unit meeting’: we do defenders, midfielders and forwards. Albert has selected the images of the training but also former matches that explains more of our game-plan.

The set-plays! I forgot the set-plays! Also 25 minutes. Also a meeting. Also I’m checking. Frans Hoek, the goalkeeper trainer, is doing that. Then we pick up the players who have to cover (mark) the players. 25 minutes.
In the hotel we have a meeting – again – to give consciousness (understanding) to what we have to do. Then we have individual meetings. I especially have individual meetings with the players, in the hotel or in my office here. Not with every player – it depends on how they train, how they perform.

Then the match is coming. I don’t say anything, only one sentence before the match. Then half-time I say what we have to change, or what we have to improve, or I don’t say anything because it was very good. It happens. The day after the match, Albert Stuivenberg has to select video clips again of the match. Then we evaluate the match. I go through the match with Albert.

Then we have the evaluation. I was just coming now out of a meeting with my players. The evaluation is more long because there are more themes but the analysis is 20 minutes, 25 minutes sometimes. Again a meeting with the players. The staff have to work very hard. The players too. They are not used to that. Most players are intuitive. I want it more with consciousness (awareness) that they are thinking, that they can make decisions on the pitch.They have to think for the team.