Manchester United latest: Christmas Day off, Louis van Gaal thanks Sir Alex Ferguson

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said that the players will be given time off on Christmas Day.

The Red Devils are in action on Boxing Day against Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the Premier League and would normally report to the Aon Training Complex for a light session.

“I have changed that, I have given them free time and Christmas day with the family,” Van Gaal told MUTV. “We shall come together the next day here at our Aon Training Complex. Then we will have all of the meetings like we have done all season.

“I believe in a total human being so the environment is also important. I think they are more pleased to be at home with their wives and children. I hope they shall give everything to beat the opponent then.”

United captain Wayne Rooney is pleased with Van Gaal’s decision and said: “It must be strange for them (international teammates) to have more games than ever over Christmas, having had the time off previously.

“They have to adapt and be ready for it, while being aware of the fixture list. I’m sure they’ll be prepared for the upcoming games.

“We’re not actually training on Christmas Day this year because we’ll be spending it at home, which will be good for the foreign players and those of us with children.”

Meanwhile, Van Gaal has thanked former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for the support he has given him.

"When he gets the best players back, you watch United," Ferguson told BT Sport. "Because he's a great coach, he'll do well.”

Van Gaal appreciates Ferguson’s words and is quoted as saying by United’s official website: “It is fantastic when you come to Manchester United. You hope, because I know Sir Alex, that he shall support you.

"When he is supporting you, because he is doing that not only this week but also other conferences he gave, he shows a lot of confidence in belief in me; that I need as a trainer coach, as a manager of Manchester United.

"You need the belief and support of managers such as Sir Alex, but also from Sir Bobby Charlton and David Gill. I have the belief, so I’m very happy with that because then you can work in a more easy way.

"It’s also a pressure because he believes in you, and it gives you that pressure that you have to give results. It is not so easy to win the Premier League matches.”

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